Press Club

Jury convicts man of 2019 Rosslyn stabbing spree

Wondwossen Kassu in 2019 (courtesy of ACPD)

(Updated at 11 a.m.) An Arlington County jury found a 43-year-old man guilty of stabbing three people in Rosslyn three years ago.

Wondwossen Kassu stabbed two men sitting at a table inside Gateway Park in May 2019 and a third man walking by. The jury convicted him on three counts of malicious wounding.

Kassu is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6 in the Arlington County Circuit Court. Malicious wounding is a felony that carries a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years.

“This was a tough case, but my office will never shy away from prosecuting such acts of violence,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, in a statement. “We are grateful for the jury’s verdict, and we were happy to provide some measure of closure to the victims.”

On May 21, 2019, Kassu approached two men sitting at a table inside the park and began talking to them, according to the 2019 police report. Then, he stabbed them and a third man who happened to be nearby.

Two of the victims were able to flee and get help. All three required hospitalization, but survived the attacks.

More on the crime from an Arlington County Police Department press release at the time:

At approximately 9:27 p.m. on May 21, police responded to the report of multiple stabbings in Gateway Park located at 1300 Lee Highway. Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. During the course of the investigation, officers located three male victims suffering from lacerations. The victims were transported to area hospitals and all are reported in stable condition.

Based on the preliminary investigation, it appears two of the victims were sitting at a table inside Gateway Park when the suspect approached them and initiated a conversation before producing a knife and stabbing the victims. The third victim was walking in the area when he came upon the initial assault. The suspect then turned his attention towards the third victim and stabbed him as well. Two victims were able to leave the scene to seek assistance. They were located by responding officers in the 1900 block of Fort Myer Drive and the 1800 block of N. Nash Street.

Dehghani-Tafti, elected as the top prosecutor for Arlington and Falls Church on a criminal justice reform platform, has faced some local skepticism — culminating in a recall campaign organized by a Northern Virginia political group last year — about whether she is sufficiently tough on crime. Dehghani-Tafti’s office started sending press releases about major convictions earlier this year.

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