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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- He was the most wanted man in our area, accused of shooting a cop, then leading police on a 24-hour manhunt.

Now, we're learning it's possibleStephon Pratherwas notsupposed to be free in the first place.

The 29-year-old already had a theft charge behind him in June 2006 when cops say he showed up to a family member's house, pointed a gun and fired a few bullets at, of all people, his family.

Prather was charged with attempted murder, then plead to two counts of 1st-degree assault. He was sentenced to 20 years total, 10 years of which was suspended. He was serving two 5-year sentences concurrently, and got about 3 years through that when he went into a drug treatment program.

He ended up on probation from December 2007 to December 2012.

Law enforcement expert Ed Clark is helping us connect the dots.

"If he does it with family members, this individual could more than likely do it out there, and we saw what happened with our Howard County police officer yesterday," said Clark.

In researching Prather's past, Assignment Desk Editor Bill Starks noticed our sister station WFMY in North Carolina had a story on Prather. WFMY reported that Prather was arrested in 2011 in North Carolina. Police tried to pull him over, he crashed his car, got out and ran. Later, police found him in a home, and he was charged with breaking and entering among other charges.

But, remember Prather was on probation in 2011.

Clark explains, "He's involved in the state of North Carolina and has serious felony charges for whatever reason there was a breakdown where they did not notify the Maryland Department of Parole and probation officers."

If they did, would Prather have been serving that 10 year suspended sentence? And does that mean that Prather would have been in prison on Wednesday rather than putting police in his crosshairs? Clark responds, "Had they done that in a timely manner, the state may have been able to file a violation of probation warrant and have this individual arrested and brought before the criminal justice system."

Our last stop on our quest for answers Thursday night took us to an Upper Marlboro home where police say Stephon Prather lived back in 2006. No one answered the door.

Officer Steven Houk is out of surgery. Howard County Police say he is in serious but stable condition and doing well.

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