Correctional Officer Gary Lee Rowe

Correctional Officer Gary Lee Rowe

United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Government

End of Watch Monday, February 7, 1983

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Gary Lee Rowe

Correctional Officer Gary Rowe succumbed to injuries received when he was attacked by nine inmates who were attempting to escape from MCC San Diego in San Diego, California. A string made out of dental floss, 160 feet long, was being lowered from a window to the ground where a man waited. He was going tie a rope to the string to be pulled back up when Officer Rowe entered their cell.

The inmates attacked him with an iron bar, stripped from a locker, and bashed his head against the cell wall knocking him unconscious. The inmates then shoved him under the cell's bed, where he was located by other officers who began searching for him. He never regained consciousness before passing away.

Five inmates, 18, 21, 22, 36, and 38, were charged with murder and four were charged with attempted escape. Two of the five, 22, and 38, were identified as the killers who bashed Officer Rowe's head against the cell wall. In July of 1983 the suspect, 22, was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life, to go along with his existing term of one year for illegal entry. The suspect, 18, was sentenced to four years. Three others were sentenced to 10 to 20 years. Another was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 25 years. The convicted inmates were sent to federal prisons.

Officer Rowe was survived by three children.


  • Age 30
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Location California
  • Weapon Blunt object
  • Offender Sentenced to life

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace always knowing that your service and sacrifice will never, ever be forgotten by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

February 7, 2021

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