Manhunt underway in Virginia for Ethiopian man who escaped from prison

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FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA. (NBC NEWS) — A prisoner armed with a gun and wearing just a hospital gown was being hunted after escaping from the custody of a private security guard in a northern Virginia hospital early Tuesday, police said.
cban3r5usaa2_mxNBC Washington reported at 4:51 a.m. that police were investigating an “active shooter situation” at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. The facility was locked down. However, authorities subsequently said the case was being treated as an “escaped prisoner armed with a gun.”
Fairfax police identified the fugitive as Wossen Assaye and described him as “armed and dangerous.” Officials said he had grabbed the security officer’s weapon before fleeing in his bare feet.
Shots were fired at the hospital but it was unclear who pulled the trigger, a spokeswoman at the Fairfax County police department said.
According to a 2012 Virginia Parole Board document, Assaye has an “extensive criminal record” and “history of violence,” indicating a “serious risk to the community.” The document said he had committed robberies and burglaries.
Public records searches show a man named Wossen Assaye from the Virginia area has a rap sheet dating back to 1972.
He has been charged with a variety of felonies — including breaking and entering in 1998 — with at least one conviction, for purse snatching in 1994, for which he was given a recommended maximum 12-month jail sentence.
Kent Knoff, a worker at a nearby Exxon, told NBC News that police had flooded the area and roads were shut down around the hospital.
“There are police cars everywhere,” the 50-year-old said. “We’ve been having the door locked and got a message from police to stay inside.”
Just before 6 a.m., police warned local residents to “be alert to your surroundings” as the manhunt continued.
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