Escaped Virginia prisoner who sparked huge manhunt pleads guilty
Photo: Fairfax County Police Dept.

A bank robbery suspect who sparked a massive manhunt when he fled a Virginia hospital with a security guard's gun pleaded guilty to federal firearms charges on Thursday, prosecutors said.


Wossen Assaye, 43, entered the plea to the two charges in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a statement.

Assaye triggered a nine-hour manhunt on March 31 when he apparently freed himself from shackles at a hospital in Washington's Virginia suburbs.

He assaulted a private contract guard, grabbed her gun, pointed it at a second guard and pulled the first guard down a at gunpoint. He then fled wearing a hospital gown and carjacked two vehicles before he was arrested in Washington.

In addition to the firearms charges, Assaye also accepted responsibility for other crimes for which he was charged or suspected, including a string of bank robberies, the statement said.

Assaye had been under arrest for bank robbery when he was taken to the Virginia hospital after a suicide attempt.

He faces from 32 years to life in prison. Sentencing is set for Oct. 9.