The prisoner who escaped from authorities at Inova Fairfax Hospital early Tuesday, allegedly stole two cars in his getaway and led Fairfax County Police on a widespread chase has been captured in the District, Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler said.
Roessler said Wossen Assaye, 42, was arrested by federal authorities in Arlington last week for a series of bank robberies in Northern Virginia. He is a suspect in a dozen bank robberies in the area from October of 2013 to March 2015, FBI officials said.
Assaye was taken to the hospital from Alexandria City Jail over the weekend after he attempted to hang himself with a bedsheet at the jail.
“I want to thank our community, in Fairfax and in the entire region,” Roessler said at a press conference Tuesday. “An alert community member alerted us and led to arrest … a violent felon is no longer on the streets.”
Despite being in shackles, Assaye allegedly overpowered a female private security guard about 3 a.m. after the second guard left the room.
One shot was fired, but no one was injured, Roessler said. Assaye, carrying the guard’s gun, fled the hospital wearing only a hospital gown and no shoes, authorities said. Roessler said it was not known who fired the shot.
A manhunt ensued throughout the morning in Fairfax County, and Assaye was caught at Minnesota Avenue near 25th Street SE in DC after 11 a.m.
Roads around Fairfax Hospital were closed for part of the morning, and Roessler said police searched the hospital.
But Assaye had already run through nearby woods to a residential neighborhood near the hospital. He broke into the trunk of a resident’s car, a 2002 Toyota. When the car owner got into the car to commute to work, Assaye carjacked the woman. The woman was slightly injured and treated, police said.
Shortly after 7 a.m., Assaye allegedly carjacked another car, a Hyundai, at Backlick Road and Cindy Lane. As of noon Tuesday, police had not recovered the second car.
Assaye will appear on new charges in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Photo: Wossen Assaye/FCPD