Howard County police are searching for a suspect who shot an officer in North Laurel Wednesday afternoon.
The shooting happened in the 9500 block of Washington Boulevard.
An employee of a Route 1 business called 911 after seeing a man on foot brandishing a handgun. As soon as three Howard County police officers arrived to the scene, police say the suspect opened fire on them.
“We don't know whether or not the suspect was hit. We can confirm that the officers did return fire after he fired first,” said Howard County Police spokesperson Sherry Llewellyn.
30-year-old Steven Houk was identified as the police officer shot. He was airlifted to University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and is in serious condition.
Houk has been an officer for Howard County for over two years and was assigned to the Southern District Patrol.
Police have identified the suspect as 29-year-old Stephon Prather. He is wanted for attempted murder of a police officer and multiple counts of assault against officers. He is described as a black male, 6’2”, 280 pounds, and was wearing a black jacket with gray pants.Police from at least seven neighboring jurisdictions rushed to Route 1 at Gorman Road to try to flush the suspect out of the woods.
"We've got helicopters up. There are dogs out there. We’ve got officers on foot. We’ve got officers patrolling. We’re doing everything we can to try to locate the suspect,” Llewellyn said.
By nightfall, there was still no sign of Prather. Detectives are getting some leads and following up on every tip.
The other two officers who responded to the scene with Houk were not hurt.
Police say Gorman Road at Route 1 will stay cordoned off for quite some time while detectives search for the suspect and process the crime scene.
Police are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Prather.
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