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Prisoner Escapes D.C.-Area Hospital Leading to Early Morning Manhunt (Update: Fugitive Caught)


"Armed & dangerous."

Update 12:25 p.m. EST: Greg Cox, acting assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington field office, said at a news conference that it had been conducting investigation into 12 bank robberies that have occurred in northern Virginia between 2013-2015.

Cox thanked the public for their tips that helped lead to Wossen Assaye being taken back into custody late Tuesday morning. Other officials said that hundreds of officers spanning different departments were involved in the search that lasted several hours.

The investigation as to how Assaye escaped custody and the events that occurred while he was on the the run is still ongoing.

Update 12:06 p.m. EST: The fugitive was caught by D.C. Metropolitan Police and is back in custody of the Fairfax County Police Department.

Update 11:52 a.m. EST: WJLA-TV's Brad Freitas tweeted that the suspect is in custody. Police will hold a news conference at noon.

Update 11:40 a.m. EST: Police believe the suspect to now be "wearing a dark colored jacket and blue jeans."

Update 10:33 a.m. EST: Police say the escaped prisoner, who was previously in a stolen Toyota Camry, is now allegedly in a "2008 Gray Hyundai Elantra, Va plate XTU-5024."

Update 10:20 a.m.EST: Fairfax police located Camry with the license plate they were searching for. The suspect, however, remains at large and the search continues.

Update 8:10 a.m. EST: Police later said the 2002 Toyota Camry was stolen and that they believe the suspect is driving it.

Update 7:50 a.m. EST: Police now believe the suspect could be in a 2002 Silver Toyota Camry, license Virginia XZP-8153.

Update 7:20 a.m. EST: At a press conference this morning, police said Assaye has family and a girlfriend in the area. WJLA reported that authorities are checking in with these people to make sure he is not hiding with them.

Original story below.

Those in a popular northern Virginia suburb just outside of Washington, D.C., are waking up to find their morning commute could be impacted by a manhunt for an armed prisoner escaped an area hospital.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, a black male being taken to Inova Fairfax hospital in police custody escaped before 4 a.m. Tuesday and now has a firearm. Roads were shut down around the hospital as police began the search for the man wearing a hospital gown and no shoes.

"Escaped prisoner’s name is Wossen Assaye," the department said in another tweet. "He is 6 ft tall & 170 pounds. Heavy police presence in area searching for him. Armed & dangerous."

According to WJLA-TV, Assaye escaped while he was being transferred from a jail in Alexandria, Virginia, to the Fairfax, Virginia, hospital. Assaye reportedly overpowered the officer transporting him and took his gun.

Reuters cited reports that shots were fired, and police later confirmed that one shot was fired.

Hospital employees were being told to go to a local high school where they would be picked up in a shuttle. The hospital itself is on lockdown. WIRC-TV noted that area schools are on spring break this week.

A WJLA reporter rushing to cover the story tweeted that she ran into a couple headed to the hospital to give birth. The reporter suggested patients in labor go to other area hospitals for the time being.

Watch WJLA's report on the situation:

Police are asking area residents to "be aware of your surroundings and call police for anyone suspicious."

The police department did not immediately respond to TheBlaze's request for more information on the escaped prisoner. This is what WJLA reported though:

Assaye was arrested March 20 charged with a robbery at Apple Federal Credit Union in Alexandria. But in a court document, an FBI agent suggests Assaye, 42, of Arlington, is responsible for a string of 12 bank robberies in northern Virginia over the last year and a half.

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

Assaye had been booked into the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center in Alexandria 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 for treatment, she said. Alexandria deputy sheriffs maintained custody of Assaye for the first 24 hours before turning him over to security officers contracted by the U.S. Marshals, she said.

This story has been updated to include more information.

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