A massive manhunt is underway Tuesday afternoon for two “armed and dangerous” inmates of a central Georgia prison who disarmed and killed the guards who were transporting them on a prison bus with other inmates early Tuesday morning.
Donnie “Whiskey” Rowe, 43, and Ricky Dubose, 24, overpowered and killed the two guards with their own .40-caliber Glock pistols, overtook the bus, then carjacked a green Honda Civic that happened upon the scene. The pair took the driver’s cell phone, discarded it, and fled along Route 16. The expanding search now involves the FBI, U.S. marshals, and Georgia law enforcement.
According to Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, the escape took place around 6:45 a.m. ET between Sparta and Eatonton, Georgia. There were 31 other Baldwin State Prison inmates on the bus at the time, some of whom are cooperating with the investigation, the sheriff said in an afternoon press conference.
Sheriff Sills confirmed that the full resources of the FBI, U.S. marshals, and other state and federal agencies are being deployed to assist in the manhunt. “Every police officer of any kind” is participating in the search, according to the sheriff.
According to the Georgia Department of Corrections website, both men have long rap sheets including violent crimes. One is suspected to have gang ties, but authorities would not confirm who.
Rowe was sentenced to life in prison in 2001, convicted for aggravated assault and armed robbery. Dubose is serving a 20-year sentence stemming from a 2014 conviction for aggravated assault, theft, and armed robbery.
The corrections department identified the slain officers as Christopher Monica and Curtis Billue, both employees of Baldwin. It was not clear which of the escaped prisoners shot the guards.
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said during his Senate testimony this morning that federal resources are being deployed to help catch the escaped convicts.
“An attack on any American law enforcement officer is an attack on every American law enforcement officer and the principles we all believe in,” Rosenstein said.
The Putnam County Sheriff warns that the men should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees them are urged to call 911.
This is a developing story.