Washington – A prisoner armed with a gun and wearing just a hospital gown was being hunted after escaping from the custody of a private security guard in a northern Virginia hospital early Tuesday, police said.

Reuters initially reported that police were investigating an “active shooter situation” at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. The facility was locked down. However, authorities subsequently said the case was being treated as an “escaped prisoner armed with a gun.”

Fairfax Police identified the fugitive as Wossen Assaye and described him as “armed and dangerous.” Officials said he had grabbed the security officer’s gun before fleeing in his bare feet.

According to a 2012 Virginia Parole Board document, Assaye had an “extensive criminal record” and “history of violence,” indicating a “serious risk to the community.” The document said he had committed robberies and burglaries.

Traffic

Roads around the hospital are being shut down so police can search the area.

At about 5:35 a.m., police said the following roads are closed: Route 50 to Prosperity Avenue, Prosperity Avenue to Gallows Road, Gallow Road to Woodburn Road and Woodburn Road to Prosperity Avenue.

The Capital Beltway ramps to Gallows Road are closed, too.

The manhunt will have major traffic implications for Tuesday morning, says WTOP Traffic’s Jack Taylor.

“Just avoid the area around Inova Fairfax Hospital as this is a very fluid situation,” Taylor says.

Kent Knoff, a worker at a nearby Exxon, said that police had flooded the area.

“There are police cars everywhere,” the 50-year-old told NBC News. “We’ve been having the door locked and got a message from police to stay inside.”

ORIGINAL: An armed prisoner wearing a hospital gown was being hunted after escaping from the custody of a private security guard in a northern Virginia hospital early Tuesday, police said.

NBC Washington reported that police were investigating an “active shooter situation” at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia.

No further details were immediately available.