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Fugitive manhunt underway, roads near Inova Fairfax Hospital reopened


8:30 a.m.

The prisoner who escaped overnight from Inova Fairfax Hospital drove away, police said.

Ossen Assaye is believed to be in a silver 2002 Toyota Camry with Virginia tags XZP-8153. Police urge anyone who spots the vehicle to call 911.

The car was stolen by the fugitive, according to police.

Roads around Inova Fairfax Hospital are reopened to traffic. There is still a heavy police presence in the area, according to Fairfax County police.

7:21 a.m.

A prisoner who was in custody escaped this morning at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Wossen Assaye overpowered a private security guard, took his gun, and fire one shot, according to Fairfax County police. No one was injured, and Assaye fled on foot.

Assaye may be with a girlfriend, according to police who posted a photo of her on Twitter.

Police closed several roads around Inova Fairfax Hospital as a manhunt is underway to find the escaped prisoner.

Assaye was arrested on federal charges of bank robbery in Alexandria. His captors took him to Inova Fairfax Hospital for medical treatment, according to police.

Assaye is wearing a hospital gown, police said. They also warn neighbors to stay indoors, and to be ready to encounter several road closures if they must leave home. Residents are encouraged to call 911 if they see Assaye.

Inova Fairfax employees are asked to go to Falls Church High School where a shuttle bus is waiting to take them to work. No one is able to drive onto the hospital property as the center is on lockdown.

No schools in the are affected, according to police.

Members of the Prince William County Police Department were not called to assist Fairfax police, according to spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Inova Fairfax Hospital is a level one trauma center. There are no such trauma centers in Prince William County, and people who suffer life-threatening injuries in Prince William County are regularly taken to Inova Fairfax.


Local Representatives Show Support for Howell in Stafford

Speaker of the House Bill Howell (right) chats with a supporter March 22, 2015. [KJ Mushung/Potomac Local News]

Speaker of the House Bill Howell (right) chats with a supporter March 22, 2015. [KJ Mushung/Potomac Local News]

There’s been a lot of publicity about Susan Stimpson, former member of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, vying for the Republican nomination against William J. “Bill” Howell (R-Stafford), Speaker of the House of Delegates and reportedly Stimpson’s former mentor. Since she announced her candidacy in December, Stimpson has been outspoken about the race, but Howell hasn’t engaged the narrative as much. However, on March 22, local political and business leaders put the attention on Howell’s message.

The Spring for Bill Howell event was held at the Hampton Inn and Conference Center that sits by exit 143 just off of Interstate 95 in North Stafford. It was organized by Stafford County Supervisor Paul Milde III as a fundraiser and a way to gather county residents to talk about why they should vote for Howell in the upcoming primary. 

[KJ Mushung/Potomac Local News]

[KJ Mushung/Potomac Local News]

Approximately 160 people attended and nearly $15,000 was raised, according to Milde, who matched the money raised from ticket sales. Another $2,500 in food, labor, space, mailings and postage was donated in kind, he added.


“It would be a mistake to replace Bill Howell with Susan Stimpson,” said Milde. “She has nothing to offer of any benefit that we’re not already getting from Bill Howell. She’s no more conservative, and I would venture to say she’s a lot less effective. She has spent more time campaigning than she ever did governing.”

[KJ Mushung/Potomac Local News]

[KJ Mushung/Potomac Local News]

In speaking with Potomac Local, Howell pointed out that five of the seven members who served with Stimpson on the Stafford Board of Supervisors support him. Of the other two, one is a Democrat and therefore not involved in the Republican primary, and the other is Meg Bohmke, whom Howell described as Stimpson’s hand-picked successor and who will therefore stand by her, he said. 

Howell has been a delegate for nearly 28 years. If he wins the primary and reelection, he said he plans to focus on much of the same issues he’s been working on, like helping to create jobs, improving K-12 education and reforming the Virginia Retirement System. 

“I’m proud of my record,” he said.

[KJ Mushung/Potomac Local News]

[KJ Mushung/Potomac Local News]

Stimpson lost a bid to be the Republican candidate in a 2013 primary for Virginia’s lieutenant governor.

The Republican primary is Tuesday, June 9, and anyone of any political party (or of no party affiliation at all) may vote. 


[KJ Mushung/Potomac Local News]

[KJ Mushung/Potomac Local News]

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Three injured in partial building collapse in Gainesville


The Prince William County Fire and Rescue Department responded to a call at 1:35 p.m. this afternoon about a partial building collapse in the Wentworth Green development on Senea Drive in Gainesville.

On a construction site for new townhomes in the development, the wind caught hold of roof trusses that were tacked into place on the third floor – which is standard practice – and caused the collapse, according to Thomas Jarman, Battalion Chief for Prince William fire and rescue.

“It really wasn’t a whole building collapse – it was houses under construction – and they had some of the roofing trusses collapsed,” said Jarman.

Jarman stated that Jim Forgo, the incident commander, and other responders arrived at the scene and found three adult males had been injured.

A rope system and elevated anchor point were used to retrieve the three victims, according to Jarman.

One of the victims has a lower body injury, believed to be a fracture, said Jarman.

The injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, according to Jarman.

“We actually ended up transporting a total of three patients. One was a little more serious – I believe there was a fracture. He was the one that was removed from the third floor of the townhouse,” Jarman said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are on the scene and investigating.

Easter egg hunt starts Dumfries spring events series

042111 Around Town

An annual Easter Egg hunt will take place Saturday in Dumfries.

The Dumfries-Triangle Rescue Squad purchased Easter Eggs purchased eggs to be hidden at Ginn Memorial Park on Graham Park Road. The event begins at 11 a.m.

Pillar Church in Dumfries will provide a children’s bounce house, as well as volunteers to run family games at the Easter event. The church will also provide an Easter Bunny suit to be worn by Dumfries Parks and Recreation Committee member Matthew Critchley.

Face Odyssey will also be on hand to paint childrens’ faces, according to Dumfries Community Services Director Ryan Gandy.

Easter is the following day, Sunday, April 5.

The following Saturday on April 11, volunteers will gather in Dumfries for the annual Quantico Creek Clean Up. Coffee, bagels, and donuts will be served starting at 8 a.m. at Town Hall while participating volunteers are registered for the event, according to Public Works Director Richard West.

The clean up will take place from 9 a.m. to noon. Lunch will be served after the clean up ends, and volunteers will tally up the amount of garbage collected, said West.

Community Services Director Ryan Gandy is also organizing the town’s Multicultural Festival. It is slated to take place May 9 at 11 a.m. at Merchant Park, next to the Weems-Botts Museum.

Gandy said this year’s event will focus more on celebrating the ethnic heritage of many cultures and less on vendors selling products and services. 

“I am part of the organizing committee, and last year someone came to me and said that [last year’s multicultural festival] wasn’t a multicultural festival,” said Vice Mayor Willie Toney. “We were wondering if we should even continue with that name. The intent was to have a multicultural event to have different people, different food.”

Toney told Gandy he was pleased that this year’s festival will focus more on celebrating diversity in the community.

“I looked back last year on what it became it wasn’t really a multicultural festival,” added Gandy.

Festival goers should expect displays on native and African-African American life as it pertains to the early days of the Town of Dumfries, provided by Historic Dumfries, Inc. Gandy also contacted several food vendors that would “provide cuisine of their native lands,” said Gandy. The details of which food vendors will participate are still being worked out.

The festival is free to attend.


Three charged with sexual assault of a minor in Manassas


On March 4, detectives from the Prince William County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit received a call about a sexual assault that was reported on Lomond Drive in Manassas.

According to a Prince William police release, the incidences of sexual assault began back in 2010.

The victim in the investigation – a 9-year old girl – has been sexually assaulted by three different individuals since 2010, when they were staying in her home, according to a Prince William police release.

The investigation showed that the instances began when the victim was 5-years old. 

A call was made to the Prince William police to investigate the claim after the victim told family members.

All three of the men did not know one another, and were all staying in the residence at different times, says a Prince William police release.

The suspects; Douglas Vladmir Monge Baires, a 39-year old Manassas man, Walter Antonio Canales Reyes, a 31-year old Manassas man, and Santos Andres Flores Rios, a 47-year old man, were all located and arrested by the Prince William police. 

Baires is being charged with two counts of rape, two counts of indecent liberties with a child, and two counts of object sexual penetration.

Reyes is being charged with three counts of rape, and three counts of indecent liberties with a child.

Rios is being charged with one county of indecent liberties.

All three suspects are being held without bond.

Manassas Museum to host several new exhibits this summer


The Manassas Museum in Downtown Manassas is getting ready for the spring and summer with several upcoming exhibits.

According to Doug Horhota, Museum Programs Coordinator for the City of Manassas, it’s important to remember that the museum is not just for Civil War exhibits – and that the Manassas Museum looks at life in Manassas as a whole.

“We are the Manassas Museum – not the Manassas Civil War Museum. And that is one of our challenges here. But we try to focus on the history of Manassas – and that can be anything that deals with pre-contact, like the Native Americans…or it can include anything up to the current day,” said Horhota.

The museum is currently hosting an exhibit called ‘Impressions’ until April 12, which features artwork from students at Osbourn High School in Manassas. 

As it gets closer to summer, the museum tries to plan for more interactive and exciting exhibits.

“Each exhibit has its own subset of attendees that we’re looking for. We try to make it as family-friendly as possible, and we try to plan our more major visits in the summer months, when visitation is traditionally up,” Horhota said.

In early May the museum will feature an exhibit on the first responders of Virginia including both the professional fire company and the volunteer fire company – which has been in the community for 100 years.

Another exhibit coming this summer is going to include a partnership with the county, as they try to display the long history of the Carter family in Virginia.

“There’s a lot of history that transcends with the county, and so we’re doing a joint county exhibit on some of the more prominent land owners that date back to the years to before and during the Civil War – specifically the Carter family,” said Horhota, continuing, “Essentially everyone in Virginia is [part of] the Carter family – if you’ve lived here long enough…there’s a couple of presidents, generals on both sides of the Civil War, Washington’s a Carter, Jefferson’s a Carter – they are the first family of Virginia.” 

Horhota noted that the current admission into the museum is $5, but it will be free for all visitors during the summer.

Stewart, Crawford; Nohe, O’Meara to meet for Prince William Primary Debates


Four candidates for elected office in Prince William County will meet for two separate debates Saturday, April 11.

First at 5:30 p.m., incumbent Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman, At-large Corey Stewart will meet his Republican challenger Chris Crawford to debate local issues concerning governance of Prince William County and the task of leading its Board of Supervisors. Both men are candidates in an April 25 party canvass, also known as a “firehouse” primary where Republican voters will decide who will go on to face Democrat challenger Rick Smith in November.

You may submit questions for the Chairman’s Primary Debate.

At 6:30 p.m., incumbent Prince William County Coles District Supervisor Marty Nohe will meet with Republican challenger Paul O’Meara to discuss streetlight issues facing voters in the Coles District, which spans from the mid-county area to neighborhoods around Manassas.

To date, no Democrat seeks the Coles District seat, so this could be the debate that helps voters decide who will become the next Coles District Supervisor.

You may submit questions for the Coles District Primary Debate.

The debates will be held at the Dar AlNoor Islamic Community Center on Hoadly Road in Woodbridge. The event is co-sponsored by the Coles District Civic Association and Potomac Local.

The candidates were briefed on the format of the debate as follows:

  • Candidates will be introduced to the audience
  • Short bios for each candidate will be read
  • A candidate will be asked a specific question
  • The candidate will have two minutes to respond
  • An opposing candidate will have one minute for rebuttal
  • A new question is asked of different candidate and process repeats

Potomac Local Publisher Uriah Kiser will moderate the debates. The local online news organization will accept reader-submitted questions that may be asked of the candidates during the debates.

The candidates, audience members, and all those involved in the debates are asked to adhere to the following rules:

  • Occupants of the Dar AlNoor Islamic Community Center must remove their footwear at the door and place footwear in a storage area inside the center.
  • Campaign literature and signs are permitted outside of the community center and must be removed upon event conclusion

Innovation Park brings high-tech jobs to Prince William


Innovation Park, located adjacent to George Mason University’s Prince William Campus, is continuing to grow and bring in high-tech companies and jobs to the area.

Innovation Park, a business and technology park space, first started back in 1998.

It now has more than 26 companies and 2,300 employees working within its scope, according to Jeff Kaczmarek, Executive Director of the Prince William County Department of Economic Development.

“To date, the [economic development] department has directly assisted in attracting approximately $720 million in capital investment by Innovation Park tenants, and the creation of over 2,000 jobs,” said Kaczmarek.

The Virginia Department of Forensic Science, the National Institute of Health’s Biomedical Research Laboratory, the FBI’s NOVA Resident Agency, Mediatech, ISOThrive, and Microvax are among the companies that utilize the Innovation Park space.

According to Kaczmarek, one of the fastest growing components of Innovation Park is the Prince William Science Accelerator.

The Prince William Science Accelerator allows small technological companies to come in and utilize their lab and office spaces for an affordable cost, to help them grow.

The county’s economic development department has partnered with George Mason University to help Innovation Park grow.

Dr. Angel Cabrera, President of George Mason University, spoke with Potomac Local to announce that the university’s Prince William Campus is being rebranded as the science and technology campus.

Kaczmarek stated that their partnership with the University and the upcoming rebranding would help further their cause to develop Innovation Park and the Prince William Science Accelerator.

“From our perspective, the rebranding exercise signals exciting developments for Prince William County as it will heighten public awareness surrounding the campus…[it] is another step towards Prince William County being known as the science and technology hub of the region,” Kaczmarek said.

Kaczmarek commented that instead of having to drive out of the area for a good job, the continued development of Innovation Park would benefit the county, and grow the jobs where people live.

Kaczmarek also stated that the university would be able to further create a workforce that will be equipped with the tools and knowledge to go into these types of high-tech jobs.

In addition to the businesses in Innovation Park, and the Prince William Science Accelerator, another project the county’s economic development department, and George Mason University are working on is the Virginia Serious Game Institute.

According to Kaczmarek, one of the fastest growing majors at the university is their game development and design program.

“The Virginia Serious Game Institute, a public-private IR start-up [is an] incubator for entrepreneurs in simulation, modeling, and gaming,” Kaczmarek said.

The county’s economic development department will continue to work on bringing in new businesses to both Innovation Park and the Prince William Science Accelerator, hopefully bringing more high paying jobs to Prince William County.

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