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Howard Co. Officer Shot; Suspect At Large

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Stephon Prather
Meghan McCorkell 370x278 Meghan McCorkell
Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) — Stephon Prather, the man who shot a Howard County police officer Wednesday afternoon, is still on the run. Steven Houk, the wounded officer, is fighting for his life in the hospital.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the intense search in Howard County.

Officer Steve Houk was shot around 4 p.m. Wednesday. Howard County Police have identified the man they believe is the gunman and there’s a massive manhunt to find him.

Surveillance photos have been released of 29-year-old Stephon Prather, the man they believe shot Houk.

SWAT teams with automatic weapons combed for clues.

“Got helicopters up, there are dogs out there. We’ve got officers on foot,” said Sherry Llewellyn, Howard County Police.

It all started around 4 p.m., when police received a call about a man pacing by a red pickup truck along Route 1, holding a handgun. When three officers approached the man, he opened fire, hitting Houk.

“I heard the gunshots in my car,” said Aaron Lagioia.

He was driving nearby and watched the officer collapse as the shooter took off running.

“As the gunman jumped over the guardrail and ran into the woods, another officer was running along the guardrail, firing shots into the woods,” he said.

It’s unknown if the shooter was hit. The man disappeared into a densely wooded area.

Police from all across Maryland–Howard County, Laurel, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County and Maryland State Police–were called in to help with the search.

The perimeter now stretches half a mile from the crime scene and that has neighbors nervous.

“That’s the scary part. People live all around here,” said a nearby resident.

Police told residents to take precautions.

“It’s a good idea to keep your doors locked and call 911 if you see anything suspicious,” Llewellyn said.

This, as the shooter remains on the loose.

A $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to Prather’s capture.

Kai Jackson has more on the wounded police officer.

Steve Houk, 30, is a two-year veteran of the Howard County police force. He’s listed in serious condition.

County Executive Ken Ulman and the Howard County police chief gave a news conference Wednesday night.

“I had a chance to speak with him and he is under the great care of Dr. Scalea,” said County Executive Ken Ulman. “We are lucky to have this great resource here in Baltimore.”

Houk’s family members are by his side, as are other officers. The Maryland State Police helicopter was over the scene trying to find Prather. Even with infrared cameras, there’s been no luck.

If you have any information, please call police. Call the special tipline at 240-294-1307 with any information. Again, there is a $50,000 reward for information.

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