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Wossen Assaye, Ethiopian Prisoner Escapes From Virginia Hospital With Gun


One shot was fired early Tuesday as a guard wrestled with a prisoner, who then fled a northern Virginia hospital with a gun setting off a lockdown and search, police said.

A shot was fired during the struggle around 3 a.m. Tuesday at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler said. Them hospital was placed on a brief lockdown that was lifted later in the morning.

The prisoner, identified as Wossen Assaye, who authorities say is armed and dangerous, was last seen wearing a hospital gown near the room where he was being held, Roessler said. Assaye was being held on federal bank robbery charges involving a suspect who fled on a bicycle.

Wossen Assaye

Roessler said that in Fairfax County police custody, a prisoner would typically be handcuffed, but he didn’t know what federal procedures are. Police had searched the hospital and would keep looking for him, Roessler said.

Fairfax County, Va. Police stand guard at Inova Fairfax Hospital Center in Falls Church

There are road closures for several blocks around the hospital, which is located just outside the Capital Beltway. Dozens of police cars surrounded the hospital and there were officers with rifles stationed around the area. A police helicopter circled overhead.

A man who identified himself as Assaye’s father answered the phone at an Arlington home early Tuesday, but declined to speak to The Associated Press as a voice in the background told him to hang up.

The Associated Press contributed to this report