Armed prisoner breaks free from Washington, DC area hospital
An armed prisoner was on the run early on Tuesday after escaping from a hospital in a northern Virginia close to Washington where a shot was fired during a struggle with a guard, police said.
The prisoner, identified as Wossen Assaye by the Fairfax County Police Department, broke free from a private security guard at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia, and fled with the guard’s weapon, the department said on its Twitter account.
Police said Assaye was being held by the nearby city of Alexandria on federal charges of armed bank robbery and was taken to a local hospital after he tried to harm himself.
While at the medical center, Assaye overpowered the guard and took his gun, police said. One shot was fired, but no one was injured, police said.
Roads around the hospital were shut down as authorities from several different agencies searched for the suspect, who was dressed only in a hospital gown, police said.
The hospital was also locked down and employees were told to go to a local high school to board a shuttle bus to the facility, police said.
Footage posted online by local broadcaster WJLA showed a heavy police presence outside the hospital, with several squad cars on surrounding streets.
Representatives of the hospital, which is situated about 15 miles (24 km) west of Washington D.C., could not immediately be reached for comment.
(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Larry King and W So,pm)