Armed Prisoner Escapes from Inova Hospital, Captured by D.C. Police

(Courtesy of the Fairfax County Police Department)
(Courtesy of the Fairfax County Police Department)

Washington, D.C. police have captured a 42-year-old prisoner who escaped from Inova Fairfax Hospital in the Falls Church-area of Fairfax Tuesday morning, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. The police said that Wossen Assaye, a six-foot-tall black male weighing 170 pounds, was captured at a carry-out restaurant in Southeast Washington, D.C., at the intersection of 25th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, and taken into custody by Metropolitan police.

Assaye was said to have been driving a dark gray Hyundai Elantra with the Virginia license plate tag XTU-5024, and wearing a dark colored jacket and blue jeans before he was captured in D.C. According to the police, the Elantra, which has not been located by the police, was the second car that Assaye stole since fleeing the hospital – they said that he was previously driving a Toyota Camry with the Virginia license plate tag XZP-8513.

Assaye, who was being held in Alexandria City’s detention center for federal armed bank robbery charges, was being watched by a private security company at the hospital, where he was being treated after attempting to commit suicide, when he got into struggle with a guard who was watching him, overpowered her and took her gun. Police officials said at a noon press conference about Assaye that a second security guard assigned to watch the prisoner was taking a bathroom break when the struggle began.

One shot was fired, although police do not know who fired the shot, and then Assaye fled the building, wearing only his hospital gown and no shoes, according to the police. According to police, Assaye escaped through one of the hospital’s stairwells. Inova Fairfax Hospital was locked down until late Tuesday morning and hospital employees were directed to park their cars at Falls Church High School to await a shuttle bus to take them to the hospital.

Fairfax County police chief Edwin Roessler and officials from the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigations spoke about the police search for Assaye, who the police considered armed and dangerous, at a press conference this afternoon. According to Roessler, several law enforcement agencies were involved in the search and police are still processing the crime scenes involved with Assaye’s attempt to flee police custody.