Andrews grew up in an abusive household and witnessed a brutal murder at a young age. In his teens, he started robbing drug dealers at gunpoint and by 1986, he was addicted to heroin and carrying out hits for a major drug kingpin.
Andrews turned himself in for the murder of two drug dealers and offered to cooperate with authorities "to repent." He soon started wearing a wire, capturing conversations implicating other criminals. He was paroled in 2005 and dedicated the rest of his years advocating to keep youth on the right side of the law.
At the time of Andrews' arrest, The Wire creator David Simon was a crime reporter for the Sun and would send Andrews copies of the newspaper during his life time in federal prison. Andrews later served as a consultant on The Wire and became — along with several other drug world assassins — became the inspiration for the character Omar.
Omar, played by Michael K. Williams, was a Baltimore underworld legend who had morals and a strict set of rules — most notably one that stipulated he never threatened anyone not in "the game." "R.I.P. to the original gangsta and a stand up dude Mr. Donnie Andrews the man who was the inspiration for Omar Little," Williams tweeted. "Sending out prayers."