Suspect in Howard County officer shooting captured; may have sle - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Suspect in Howard County officer shooting captured; may have slept in storm drain overnight

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Rysak / WTTG Rysak / WTTG

Investigators believe the man suspected of wounding a Howard County police officer on Wednesday may have spent the night in a storm drain at the scene of the shooting.

An overnight manhunt, just North of Laurel, Md., involved hundreds of police officers. Ironically, suspect Stephon Prather was captured only a couple of hundred yards from where he allegedly exchanged gunfire with Howard County police Wednesday afternoon.

Police had been called to the scene Wednesday at 4 p.m. to check on a report about a man carrying a handgun. Freddy Pina, who works nearby, heard about a dozen shots.

“I saw the shooting between one of the officers and the suspect,” he said. “Then he just crossed the retaining wall and got away.”

29-year-old Prather vanished into a wooded area along Route 1, which was searched and then surrounded.

On Thursday around 8:45 a.m., Prather was spotted walking on that roadway, and was taken into custody. Police say Prather was suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg. He was taken to a hospital.

Investigators then concentrated their efforts on a storm drain pretty much at the scene of Wednesday’s shooting. There they found clothing and a backpack, and police recovered a handgun. It is possible Prather spent the night in the storm drain at the scene of the shooting, according to a police statement.

Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon was asked if the drain had been searched Wednesday night and he responded with: “We had a limited amount of daylight yesterday. So, we were back out there early this morning to renew our searches. And obviously that paid off because we were able to take him into custody.”

The wounded policeman took a single shot to his torso. He was operated on this afternoon at Baltimore’s Shock Trauma Hospital.

Dr. Thomas Scalea told reporters, “He had injuries to a number of organs in his body.

When asked the prognosis for him, Scalea said, “We’re cautiously optimistic and hopeful that he will make a full recovery.”

Doctors say the suspect was shot twice – in the legs – but he does not need surgery.

According to court documents, Prather was charged with attempted murder in 2006. That charge was ultimately dropped, but Prather was convicted of first degree assault, sentenced to five years in prison, but then re-sentenced to only one year in prison.

Officer Steven Houk will be at Shock Trauma for at least a couple more days.

The suspect Prather, after evaluation, will be taken in front of a Commissioner for a bail hearing.

Related Story:

Suspect wanted in shooting of Howard County officer; $50,000 reward offered

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