FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WUSA9) — A prisoner who escaped from INOVA Fairfax Hospital after overpowering a security guard on Tuesday morning is believed to be armed with a gun and driving a stolen car.
Wossen Assaye was able to take the gun from a private security guard and flee from a hospital room earlier in the morning, say Fairfax County Police officials. Multiple law enforcement agencies are now looking for Assaye, who could be with his girlfriend and driving a stolen 2002, silver Toyota Camry with Virginia license plates XZP-8513. The vehicle has front-end damage.
According to officials, a nurse who works at Ft. Belvoir hospital was leaving her home on Hayden Street at 7 a.m. in her 2002 Toyota Camry. She turned onto Backlick Road, and that’s when a man got into the backseat. Scared, she crashed her car in the driveway of a house at Cindy Lane and Backlick Road. The man, believed to be Assaye, took off in her car. She then ran two blocks to the Backlick Service Center gas station for help.
The situation began around 3:00 a.m. Fairfax County police say one shot was fired during a struggle with private security guard. Assaye was able to overpower the guard and took the guard’s gun. No one was injured in the shooting, say police.
Dave Turk, a spokesperson for the U.S. Marshal’s service, says Assaye is wearing a light blue hospital gown and may be armed with a handgun. He is not wearing shoes. Fairfax County police describe him as a black male, 6 feet tall and 170 pounds.
Alexandria Sheriff’s Office authorities say that Wossen Assaye was booked into the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria on federal charges on Saturday, March 21. They say that on Friday, March 27, he attempted suicide and was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment. “Per an agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service, Alexandria deputy sheriffs maintained custody of Assaye for the first 24 hours he was at the hospital before turning custody over to security officers contracted by the U.S. Marshals,” according to the sheriff’s office authorities.
After Assaye fled, residents in the area were told to shelter in place. The Fairfax County police chief says that police used reverse 911 to notify residents in the area. Earlier, hospital employees were not able to drive onto the property. Instead, they were asked to go to Falls Church High School for a shuttle bus to the hospital.
Roads in the area of the hospital were closed but have since reopened to traffic.
Stay tuned to WUSA9 and WUSA9.COM for updates on this developing situation.
RAW: Press Conference with Fairfax County spokesperson on escaped prisoner from INOVA Fairfax Hospital