Saturday, July 20, 2013

two-gun pete...,


chicagotribune | Two-Gun started as an anonymous bluecoat walking a beat, but he ended up as a ghetto superstar — a flamboyant, crooked, braggadocious, womanizing, hard-drinking, foul-mouthed police detective.

He was tasked with clearing out bad elements from every nightclub, flophouse and pool hall in what was then called Black Metropolis, a South Side community mired in poverty and violence, yet bouncing to a jazzy beat.

Washington spent most of his career working out of the old Wabash Avenue police station at 48th Street and Wabash Avenue. By the mid-1940s, his 5th District, with a population of 200,000, led the city in slayings, robberies and rapes, and was nicknamed the "Bucket of Blood." But the mention of Two-Gun Pete's name could clear a street corner in seconds.

"Everybody knew Sylvester Washington," said Rudy Nimocks, a former deputy police superintendent. "They knew his car. And the prostitutes would go hide someplace when they saw him. He was something else."
Facing criticism that police were failing to protect black residents, Chicago's top brass looked to Washington and other tough black cops to get ahold of crime. But the bosses may have made a pact with the devil, entrusting citizens' safety to a profoundly violent man.

"He was the meanest, cruelest person that I have ever seen in my entire life," said his third wife, Roslyn Washington Banks.

Pete augmented his fierce reputation with the tools of his trade: a nightstick and meaty hands that he used to slap grown men to the ground like small children.

And there were his sidearms — pearl-handled .357 Magnum revolvers. One had a long barrel, the other a short barrel. Each pistol was holstered in its own belt around his hips, both pearl handles pointing right for the right-handed gunslinger.

"I seldom miss the mark with them," Washington bragged to Ebony magazine. "I can put 14 bullseyes into a target out of 15 shots, and have made a marksmanship record of 147 out of a possible 150."  Fist tap BTx