Police Identify Suspect in Shooting of Police Officer in Laurel
UPDATE: Suspected shooter Stephon Prather has been captured.
LAUREL, Md. (CBSDC) — Police have identified the suspect on the loose who they say shot a Howard County police officer Wednesday in Laurel.
Police say 29-year-old Stephon Prather is wanted for shooting Howard County police officer Steven Houk on Wednesday afternoon in Laurel before fleeing into a nearby wooded area.
Police have been searching the area around the 9500 block of Washington Boulevard — where the shooting took place — but have yet to find Prather.
Authorities identified Prather from a surveillance photo taken just before the shooting at a nearby business.
A reward of up to $50,000 is being offered for information leading to Prather’s arrest. He is charged with attempted murder of a police officer and multiple counts of assault against police officers.
Police describe Prather as a black male, standing about 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing about 280 pounds, and wearing a black jacket and gray pants.
A local businessowner called police around 4 p.m. and said they saw a man walking around with a gun in the 9500 block of Washington Boulevard in Laurel.
When officers responded to the scene and confronted the suspect, he immediately opened fire, striking one officer. The other two officers exchanged gunshots before the suspect fled on foot into the woods. Police said they aren’t sure if the suspect was hit during the exchange of gunfire.
Police say the 30-year-old Houk is a two-year veteran of the Howard County Police Department. He was conscious when he was flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he is listed in serious condition.
Washington Boulevard (Route 1) was closed in both directions between Whiskey Bottom Road and Gorman Road for much of Wednesday as police searched for the suspect. The roadways have since been reopened.
An employee at Free State Self Storage, which is located in the same block where the shooting took place, said she heard a neighborhood dog start barking just after 4 p.m. Seconds later, she said she heard four rapid-fire gunshots.
Multiple police agencies, including the Howard County, Prince George’s County, and Laurel departments are using helicopters, dogs and foot patrols in their search for the suspect.