Howard County officer released from hospital

UPDATE: Sunday – 10/27/2013, 9:20pm ET:

WASHINGTON – Howard County police announced via Twitter Sunday evening that Officer Steven Houk, who was shot last week after an altercation with a suspect, has been released.

The suspect wanted in connection with the shooting was taken into custody last week following a multi-agency manhunt.

Stephon Prather, 29, was spotted by police while walking along Route 1 at about 8:45 a.m. Thursday. He surrendered to officers and was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center with a gunshot wound to the leg.


Stephon Prather, 29, of no fixed address, was taken into custody Thursday morning. (Courtesy Howard County police)

Prather, of no fixed address, is accused of shooting Officer Steven Houk, a two-year veteran of the Howard County Police Department.


Prather was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg. (Photo courtesy of WJLA)

The shooting occurred after police received a call at about 4 p.m. Wednesday from a business in the 9500 block of Route 1 reporting a man with a gun. Police say three officers responded and confronted Prather, who immediately started firing.

Houk, 30, was struck and taken to a hospital in serious condition. Howard County Police Chief William McMahon says in a news release that Houk’s “prognosis is good.”

“We are relieved that our efforts throughout the night resulted in the apprehension of this suspect before he could hurt anyone else,” McMahon says.

Officers returned fire at the suspect, but police say Prather ran into a nearby wooded area.

Police say they did not find a weapon when Prather was taken into custody, but will be searching the wooded area for a gun.

Officers from Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, along with Maryland State Police and Laurel police, assisted with the search for Prather. Police say Route 1 still my be closed periodically while the investigation continues.

Prather has had trouble with the law before. In 2006, he faced a mountain of charges: six counts each of attempted murder, first-degree assault and second-degree assault. That was in addition to charges of use of a handgun in a crime and conspiracy to attempt murder.

The charges stemmed from a dispute between Prather and members of a family.

Under a deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree assault and and was set to serve five years.

But in late 2007, Prather’s sentence was reconsidered. A judge agreed to turn Prather over to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for substance abuse treatment.

Court records show that by early 2009, Prather had been discharged by a nonprofit rehab program, Second Genesis, Inc.

See tweets sent out as the situation unfolded below:

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