Manhunt Underway After Armed Prisoner Escapes From Custody in Virginia – ABC News

PHOTO: Wossen Assaye escaped from custody in Falls Church, Va. March 31, 2015.

A Virginia hospital was placed on lockdown this morning after a prisoner escaped from custody, authorities said.

The situation occurred at Inova Fairfax Hospital, located in the city of Falls Church, Virginia, less than 10 miles southwest of Washington, D.C.

The prisoner, identified as Wossen Assaye, overpowered a private security guard and took the guard’s gun, Fairfax County Police said. Police said Assaye had been taken to the hospital for medical treatment after attempting to harm himself.

A struggle broke out between the private security guard and Assaye, and one shot was fired, but no one was injured, police said. The suspect, who was wearing a hospital gown and no shoes, is considered armed and dangerous.

Authorities released a photo of the suspect’s girlfriend, stating that Assaye may be with her.

Police said Assaye escaped by carjacking a 2002 silver Toyota Camry, which has a Virginia license plate of XZP-8153.

According to a court complaint, Assaye was accused in a string of bank robberies in eastern Virginia between October 2013 and March 20, 2015. In each situation, authorities say, the perpetrator entered the bank — often with a cell phone to his ear — either displayed a handgun or demand note, and verbally demanded money.

Assaye had a criminal history, with convictions for multiple burglary and robbery offenses in 1998 and 1999, and served time in prison between 2000 and May 2013, according to the complaint.

A heavy police presence was reported near the hospital, and police vehicles were seen blocking the hospital’s entrances during the search for the prisoner. Hospital employees were being sent to a nearby high school, and a shuttle bus was carrying the employees to work during the lockdown, police said.

Fairfax County Police Second Lieutenant Brooke Wright said multiple law enforcement bodies — including the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and state police — are helping with the search.

“We don’t believe that he has gone far,” Wright said.


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