Suspect on the loose after shooting in Pulaski County

Sheriff Bobby Jones reports on November 7, 2023, at approximately 11:47 PM, Deputies with the Sheriff’s Office, the Somerset Police Department, the Science Hill Police Department, and the Kentucky State Police responded to a call of a shooting victim on Raleigh Road in Science Hill, Kentucky. When the Officers arrived, they located Ardyth Prather Jr., age 67, known as “Ray,” deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. Mr. Prather’s wife, Joann Prather, age 65, had been shot and stabbed but was still alive. Ms. Prather was treated at the scene by the Somerset/Pulaski EMS and ultimately transported by air ambulance to Lexington. Ms. Prather’s condition is unknown at the time of this press release. Officers further determined that a neighboring residence on Raleigh Road had blood on the door. Officers entered the residence due to the possibility of other victims and safety concerns. A male, later identified as Ardyth Prather III, known as “Trae,” age 43, was found deceased inside the residence.   

The alleged perpetrator, Austin Prather, age 20, son/grandson of the victims, had fled the scene before the police arrived in a 2013 Brown Jeep Wrangler. Prather should be considered armed and dangerous. An arrest warrant charging Prather with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder should be active later this morning. Photos of the Jeep and Prather are attached to this email.  

The Major Crimes Task Force, consisting of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, the Somerset Police Department, and the Kentucky State Police, responded to the scene to begin the investigation.    

Detective Ryan Jones, with the Criminal Investigations Division of the Sheriff’s Office, is the lead investigator for this case.   

Sheriff Bobby Jones asks if you have any information about this case or the whereabouts of Austin Prather, age 20,  to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 606-678-5145 or any other police agency or 911 Center. Please do not approach Mr. Prather, who is considered armed and dangerous. Sheriff Jones says you can also call our tip line at 606-679-8477. You can also leave a tip on our webpage at You can remain anonymous by texting PCSOTIP to 847411 or using our mobile app on both Google Play and the App Store.