Reporting Linh Bui
SAVAGE, Md. (WJZ) — The investigation into a police shooting in Howard County is focused on Shock Trauma, where both the injured officer and the suspect are being treated. WJZ has been covering this story from the beginning.
Linh Bui has the latest developments.
Police arrested the suspect Thursday morning along Route 1 in Savage, very close to where the shooting took place.
After a 15-hour, massive manhunt, 29-year-old Stephon Prather is in custody.
“We have a tremendous amount of work to find out why he chose to do what he did yesterday. We have a tremendous amount of work to make sure he’s accountable for that,” said Chief William McMahon, Howard County Police.
Wednesday, police say drivers spotted Prather pacing with a gun around a red pickup truck.
But when officers approached, they say he opened fire, hitting Officer Steven Houk.
“As the gunman jumped over the guardrail and into the woods, another officer was running along the guardrail firing shots into the woods,” said Aaron Lagoya, witness.
Officials say Prather was shot in the leg and likely hid in a storm drain all night.
But Thursday morning, a witness spotted him and told police.
He just put his hands up and went to the ground,” said Freddie Piña, witness.
Prather has a long criminal record.
“It’s a lengthy one and it includes violent crime,” said Sherry Llewellyn, Howard County police spokesperson.
According to Maryland court records, Prather has been arrested several times in Maryland:
- In 2002 for vehicle theft
- In 2004 for assault
- And in 2006 for attempted first-degree murder and assault
Prather pleaded guilty that time and served five years.
But then in 2011 he was arrested again. This time it happened in North Carolina, charged with breaking and entering, traffic violations and more.
Prather faces more charges after this latest shooting.
Police say they found a gun deep inside a storm drain and believe it’s Prather’s weapon.
Officer Houk is out of surgery and is in serious, but stable condition.
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