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Press Release

Prisoner Who Escaped from Custody at Virginia Hospital Pleads Guilty to Firearms Charges in Connection With Assaults on Guards

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

Arlington man was in custody on bank robbery charges when he escaped 

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Wossen Assaye, 43, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to two counts of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, with both counts based on his armed assaults of two security guards during his March 31, 2015, escape from Inova Fairfax Hospital.

In the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Assaye accepted responsibility for not only the firearms offenses, but also additional criminal conduct for which he was charged or suspected to be responsible. According to the statement of facts, beginning in October 2013 and continuing until March 2015, Assaye robbed various banks in Northern Virginia on 11 occasions, two of which were armed robberies.  In another instance, Assaye entered a bank with the intent to commit bank robbery and larceny. After being arrested for his crimes, Assaye escaped from federal custody while at a Virginia hospital for treatment. During the course of his escape, Assaye assaulted a security guard, overpowered her, and took her firearm.  He then pointed the firearm at a second guard before pulling the first guard down the hospital hallway at gunpoint and fleeing the hospital.

Assaye was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 28, 2015. He faces a mandatory minimum of 32 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 9, 2015. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Colonel Edwin C. Roessler, Jr., Fairfax County Chief of Police; Earl L. Cook, Alexandria Chief of Police; Michael L. Chapman, Loudoun County Sheriff; and Mary Gavin, Falls Church Chief of Police, made the announcement after the indictment was returned.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Fairfax County Police Department, Alexandria City Police Department, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, and the Falls Church City Police Department.  Also, during the course of the investigation assistance was received from U.S. Marshals Service, Virginia State Police, Arlington County Police Department, and Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael E. Rich and William M. Sloan, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney William A. Glaser are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:15-cr-115.

Updated July 23, 2015