Police: Prisoner who stole gun, fled hospital found in DC

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Raw: Armed Prisoner Escapes Hospital

WASHINGTON (AP) - An inmate in a hospital for treatment after a suicide attempt overpowered a guard, took her gun, escaped and carjacked two vehicles Tuesday, setting off a frenzied search that ended nine hours later with his capture as he got off a bus in the nation's capital.

Wossen Assaye, 42, was charged earlier this month as the "Bicycle Bandit" - accused of robbing a dozen banks in northern Virginia and sometimes fleeing on two wheels.

Assaye had tried to kill himself in jail and was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital in northern Virginia on Friday, authorities said. He had been under the supervision of two contract guards.

Police say that about 3 a.m. Tuesday, Assaye overpowered a female guard when the other guard left to use the restroom. He took her gun and used her as a shield. He then fled down a stairwell, wearing only his hospital gown.

32 PHOTOS
Armed and dangerous prisoner escapes from hospital
See Gallery
Police: Prisoner who stole gun, fled hospital found in DC
This undated photo provided by the Fairfax County Police Department, in Virginia, shows prisoner Wossen Assaye. Police locked down Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., early Tuesday, March 31, 2015, and closed area roads while they searched for Assaye, who they say is armed and dangerous after he escaped custody. (AP Photo/Fairfax County Police Department)
Fairfax County police stand guard at Inova Fairfax Hospital, where a prisoner wrestled with a guard before breaking free and fleeing with a gun, early Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Falls Church, Va. Authorities said the prisoner, identified as Wossen Assaye, was last seen wearing a hospital gown near the room where he was being held. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
A Fairfax County, Va. Police officer holds a ballistic shield as he stands guard at Inova Fairfax Hospital Center in Falls Church, Va., Tuesday, March 31, 2015, where a prisoner broke free from his security guard and took his 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. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Inova Fairfax Hospital Center workers enter the hospital in Falls Church, Va., Tuesday, March 31, 2015, after being bused from a nearby location after a prisoner escaped after breaking free from his security guard and taking his 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. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Inova Fairfax Hospital Center workers enter the hospital in Falls Church, Va., Tuesday, March 31, 2015, after being bused from a nearby location after a prisoner escaped after breaking free from his security guard and taking his 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. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
A police helicopter flies near Inova Fairfax Hospital Center in Falls Church, Va., Tuesday, March 31, 2015, where a prisoner broke free from his security guard and took his 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. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
A Fairfax County, Va. Police officers in a patrol car leaves Inova Fairfax Hospital Center in Falls Church, Va., Tuesday, March 31, 2015, with siren and emergency lights flashes after a prisoner broke free from his security guard and took his 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. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Inova Fairfax Hospital Center in Falls Church, Va., Tuesday, March 31, 2015, where a prisoner broke free from his security guard and took his 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. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
A Fairfax County, Va. Police officer with a shotgun stands outside of Inova Fairfax Hospital Center in Falls Church, Va., Tuesday, March 31, 2015, where a prisoner broke free from his security guard and took his 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. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Fairfax County, Va. Police stand guard at Inova Fairfax Hospital Center in Falls Church, Va., Tuesday, March 31, 2015, where a prisoner broke free from his security guard and took his 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. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Fairfax County, Va. Police Chief Ed Roessler speaks during news conference outside Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., Tuesday, March 31, 2015, after a shot was fired early 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. (AP Photo/Matt Barakat)
Fairfax County, Va. Police Public Information Officer Roger Henrique updates reporters outside of Inova Fairfax Hospital Center in Falls Church, Va., Tuesdy, March 31, 2015, where a prisoner broke free from his security guard and took his 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. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Fairfax County, Va. Police Public Information Officer Roger Henrique updates reporters outside of Inova Fairfax Hospital Center in Falls Church, Va., Tuesdy, March 31, 2015, where a prisoner broke free from his security guard and took his 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. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Fairfax County police investigate a prisoner escape at Inova Fairfax Hospital, where the prisoner wrestled with a guard before breaking free and fleeing with a gun, early Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Falls Church, Va. Authorities said the prisoner, identified as Wossen Assaye, was last seen wearing a hospital gown near the room where he was being held. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
A prisoner in the custody of a private security guard has escaped from Fairfax Hospital armed with a gun. Multiple law enforcement-1/3
Agencies in the area searching for him. Call police for anything suspicious. Prisoner is a black male wearing a hospital gown only-2/3
Multiple roads shut down and heavy police presence around hospital.
Escaped prisoner is Wossen Assaye. He’s wearing a hospital gown and no shoes. He’s armed and dangerous. http://t.co/AwC5gfPcZP
All hospital employees plz go to Falls Church HS for shuttle bus to hospital. You cannot drive onto the property. Hospital is on lockdown.
Updated info: Assaye was being held by Alexandria City on federal charges for armed bank robbery. He was taken to hospital for medical-cont
Treatment after attempted to harm himself. A private security company was hired to guard him. A struggle btwn the two occurred in-cont
In hospital and prisoner overpowered guard & took gun. 1 shot was fired. No one was injured. Suspect fled.
Chief Roessler is at the scene speaking with the media about the Incident. http://t.co/UJ0Hrx31gF
The escaped prisoner may be with his girlfriend pictured here. http://t.co/Ccb6D5qsv8
Escaped prisoner believed to be now be driving a stolen car. A 2002 Toyota Camry w/XZP-8153. vehicle has front-end damage
Escaped prisoner possibly in 2002 Silver Toyota Camry, license Virginia XZP-8153. #breaking
.@fairfaxpolice say the police chase that ended on 95 moments ago is NOT related to the #manhunt that continues near #InovaFairfaxHospital
We continue to search for silver 2002 Toyota Camry with front end damage: VA plates:XZP-8153. Car stolen by escaped prisoner.
CORRECTION! License Plate is VA: XZP-8513 on a silver Toyota Camry with front-end damage. Please share this lookout.
We cont. to search for escaped prisoner Wossen Assaye. He overtook an armed private security guard & fled (1/2) http://t.co/vISgLISiWx
(2/2) he is considered armed and dangerous. Now driving a silver Toyota Camry w/ VA tags: XZP-8513. Call police if you see him.
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

The other guard fired one shot in the encounter. No one was hit, and nobody at the hospital was injured.

Outside the hospital, Assaye fled on foot and hid in the trunk of a car. Police were unsure whether Assaye had left the hospital complex. They locked the hospital down and conducted a room-by-room search.

While Assaye hid in the trunk, the woman who owned the car entered it and began driving. Assaye kicked out the trunk and carjacked the startled woman, who suffered slight injuries, said Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler.

Assaye later abandoned that car and left the guard's weapon there, police said.

Witnesses reported seeing Assaye on foot in an Annandale neighborhood a few miles from the hospital - not far from the site of the carjacking. Assaye then carjacked a second vehicle, police said.

By 10 a.m., officers were searching Annandale neighborhoods with a helicopter overhead and heavily armed officers on the ground. In one neighborhood, Spence Limbocker said he heard the copter, went outside and saw a massive police presence, including officers armed with assault rifles searching homes and nearby woods.

"They told me to get back in the house and lock all my doors. ... It was a little scary," Limbocker said.

Police sent numerous updates and lookout advisories on social media for Assaye and the carjacked vehicles. Roessler said the arrest occurred in southeast Washington without incident after a citizen saw Assaye and alerted authorities.

At a press conference Tuesday after Assaye was back in custody, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia Bobby Mathieson said he plans a review of the policies and procedures in place for guarding inmates at the hospital.

Still, he said, "two people should be able to guard a prisoner securely."

He said that to his knowledge, Assaye was shackled at the time of the escape, as policies require. But Mathieson had no explanation for how Assaye would have overpowered a guard while shackled or how he may have shed his handcuffs.

The guards were with Allied Protective Services, a private firm.

Assaye was arrested March 20 and charged with a robbery at Apple Federal Credit Union in Alexandria. But the FBI believes Assaye, of Arlington, is responsible for a string of 12 bank robberies in northern Virginia over the last year and a half that netted him about $32,000.

Brooke Rupert, a public defender who was representing Assaye in the robbery case, declined to comment Tuesday morning.

Assaye had been booked into the Alexandria jail, which typically holds federal inmates charged in northern Virginia, on the federal charges March 21, Alexandria Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Amy Bertsch said in a statement. On Friday, he attempted suicide and was taken to the hospital just outside the Capital Beltway in Fairfax County for treatment, she said. Alexandria deputy sheriffs turned Assaye over to security officers contracted by the U.S. Marshals after the first 24 hours, she said.

It was not clear why Assaye had to remain in the hospital for four days. Mathieson said his only lasting injury after the suicide attempt was a broken nose.

An initial appearance on the escape charges was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the federal courthouse in Alexandria.

___

Associated Press writer Jessica Gresko contributed to this report.


More from AOL.com:

Damning tape allegedly shows disastrous crime
ISIS militants reeling as Iraqi forces move in
Motel 'party' with strangers preceded spy agency shooting

Read Full Story

People are Reading