A Series of  Washington Post articles compiled by retired Detective Sergeant Dave Richardson, tell the stories of two MPD officers, soon to be detectives and their heroics in a 1963 shootout. There is also a list of promotions from the 1960s with many familiar names, including Joe Osterman.

WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MAY 8, 1954, PAGE 23

COURT WARNS RELUCTANT COMPLAINANTS

FINES WOMAN $5 FOR NOT APPEARING AFTER ACCUSATION

 

Judge Armond W. Scott warned yesterday that persons who complain to police and then fail to show up for trials in Municipal Court will be fined when they’re finally brought before him.

He issued the warning in fining Naomi Harris $5 for contempt of court. She complained to Pvt. Henry Perkoski of the Second Precinct that a 39-year-old man was drunk in her house at 11110 6th st. nw.

She wasn’t in court Thursday and the case was dismissed. The policeman said he gave her a summons. The judge told him to bring her in.

“This happens every day,” Judge Scott said. “These people have a lot of nerve calling an officer and then not coming to court. I’ll let her off with a five-dollar fine. Later on I’m going to raise the ante.”

The judge told dozens of policemen waiting to testify in the crowded “drunk” court to bring unwilling witnesses before him. “We’ll put a stop to this,” Judge Scott said.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED NOVEMBER 28, 1955, PAGE 23

16 CHARGES HOLD DRIVER

Hazzie Singleton, 29, of 454 N st. nw., was held yesterday on 16 charges, ranging from passing a red light to grand larceny.

Singleton was arrested by Second Precinct Pvts. John Leacock and Henry Perkoski after the car he was driving ran up on a sidewalk at 4th and I sts. nw. Police said they had been chasing him at speeds up to 70 miles an hour. The car he was driving had been stolen from Miss. Pearl Wantman of 1301 Longfellow st. nw., they said.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED FEBRUARY 24, 1956, PAGE 3

TWO MARINES SEIZED AS PURSE SNATCHERS

Two Quantico Marines were arrested yesterday and charged with robbery after an alert Capitol Transit Co. Bus driver spotted the license tag of a car fleeing the scene of a handbag snatching.

The pair, John W. Desmond, 21, and Ralph L. Allison, 22, were arrested after 2nd Precinct Pvts. E.J. Cahill and E.J. Spindler, stopped their car at 15th st. and Rhode Island ave. nw, an hour later.

Police said the tip came from W.H. McGuire of 2721 Urbana dr., Silver Spring, who was driving his bus near the scene of the robbery at 13th st. and Pennsylvania ave. nw. The victim was identified as Alma L. Allison, 32, of Route 4, Alexandria.

She told police she heard somebody with “taps on his shoes” walking behind her when a man grabbed her handbag and jumped into a waiting car.

Police said the two men were being questioned in connection with an attempted snatching in the 1300 block of G st. nw.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED NOVEMBER 29, 1957, PAGE A3

TURKEY DINNER ARGUMENT ENDS IN KNIFE DEATH

An argument that developed over a Thanksgiving turkey dinner wound up yesterday with the fatal stabbing of Wilbur Frost, 53, of 1503 7th st. nw., Second Precinct Det. Henry Perkoski reported.

Arrested on a charge of homicide was Mary Louise Tolliver, 39, of 1907 17th st. nw., who had been invited by Frost and his wife, Estelle, to dinner in the Frost’s apartment, Perkoski said.

As they were starting to carve the turkey about 3:30 p.m., an argument developed over paying for the main course and in an ensuing scuffle Frost was stabbed in the upper chest with a carving knife, Police Pvts. Henry Heflin and Clarence R. Hunt reported.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MARCH 7, 1961, PAGE B2

FUGITIVE SEIZED AT HIS THEFT TRIAL

A man suspected of disarming one detective and eluding another in a running gun battle Sunday night was arrested yesterday when he appeared in District Court as a defendant in a robbery case.

Police identified him as George (Hard Rock) Williams Jr., 35, a janitor living at 1310 New Hampshire ave. nw.

Indicted in the robbery case, Williams now faces charges of assault with intent to kill, assault on a police officer, attempted housebreaking, and larceny of District property.

Second Precinct Det. Henry Perkoski said he heard a burglar alarm at the National Amusement Co., 1309 New Jersey ave. nw., while driving home, and saw a man running from the place.

Perkoski arrested the man and took him to a police box at 4th and O sts. Nw. While waiting for a wagon to arrive, Perkoski said, the suspect knocked him to the ground and took the detectives 38-caliber revolver from his holster.

Then Det. Sgt. Herbert Young, passing by in a cruiser, stopped to chase the suspect. The two traded shots before the fugitive escaped inside a building at 1341 4th st. nw.

Perkoski was treated and released at the Washington Hospital Center for an injury to his right eye.

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PARTIAL WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED MARCH 28, 1961, PAGE B5

JURY INDICTS ROBBER IN GUN BATTLE

George Williams, Jr., 35, who is awaiting sentencing for robbery, was indicted yesterday in a second case involving a running gun battle with police on March 6.

A District grand jury charged Williams, listed at 1310 New Hampshire ave. nw., with attempting to break into the National Amusement Co., 1309 New Jersey ave. nw., and three counts of armed assault on Robbery Squad Det. Herbert C. Young.

Williams is also charged with stealing the gun of Det. Henry Perkoski during a struggle outside the store. Williams was arrested during his trial on charges of robbing Helen A. Battle, of 1236 10th st. nw., of $4 on Dec. 23. A District Court jury convicted him.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED SEPTEMBER 29, 1963, PAGE A1

2 DETECTIVES SHOT IN STREET GUN FIGHT

FUGITIVE CAUGHT AFTER CHASE

Two Washington detectives, and a fugitive they were trying to arrest, were wounded yesterday in an afternoon gun battle at North Capitol and P sts. Nw.

Admitted at Washington Hospital Center witha bullet wound in the stomach was Det. Edward J. Cahill, 38. His partner, Det. Henry Perkoski, 35, was in the same hospital with a wound in the lower back.

Police identified the man they were trying to arrest as John A. Smallwood Jr., 19, a suspect in a number of robberies committed since he fled St. Elizabeths Hospital on Sept. 5. He was admitted to D.C. General Hospital with a head wound and other injuries suffered, police said, when he dived through a basement window trying to escape.

Insp. Charles L. Wright gave this account of the gunplay which endangered scores of passerby when it erupted at the crowded intersection shortly before 5 p.m.:

SPOTTED NEAR STORE

Holding a warrant for Smallwood’s arrest charging he got $800 at gunpoint Tuesday night in a holdup of the Friends Auto Rental Agency at 1321 L st. nw., Perkowski and Cahill spotted him near a delicatessen he was known to frequent in the 1400 block of North Capitol st.

Assuming Smallwood to be armed and dangerous, both officers grabbed him suddenly and told him he was under arrest. A tall, heavy-set youth, Smallwood twisted from their grasp, and began firing with an English-made Webley revolver, equivalent to an American .38-caliber.

Perkoski was hit first, the shot spinning him up against a wall. He drew his revolver as he fell to the pavement, and as he fired at Smallwood, he saw Cahill drop with his wound.

Cahill and Perkoski got off five shots, police said, before crowds attracted by the shots made further shooting hazardous. Perkoski got to his car radio and touched off the response of some 50 police reinforcements to the scene with the report, “Help, I’m shot!”

DIVES INTO HOME

Smallwood, meanwhile, fled to the rear of 41 M st. nw., where he dived into a basement room of a home occupied by Mr. And Mrs. John Walker, who were sunning themselves in their front yard.

Bystanders who saw Smallwood dive through the window directed police to his hide-away and the house was surrounded. Pvt. John I. Waxler was first to approach with his K-9 Corps dog. The animal promptly leaped through the window Smallwood had broken, landing atop the fugitive inside the room.

The dog was followed into the room by several officers who dragged Smallwood out, blood running from several wounds.

Bystanders reported hearing a shot from inside the basement shortly after Smallwood jumped through the window and Insp. Wright said the fugitive’s head wound “appears to be self-inflicted.”

At the Hospital Center, Perkoski was treated for his flesh wound. Cahill underwent surgery and was placed on the serious list.

Police records show Smallwood was admitted to St. Elizabeths Hospital shortly after his arrest last June 12 on charges he robbed a 20-year-old Northwest Washington housewife and raped her while holding a butcher knife to the throat of her 7-month old child.

Indicted, he was hospitalized for pre-trial mental examination. Confined to St. Elizabeths maximum security ward, he managed to talk his way past guards who were escorting another group of patients to an intramural party, police said.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED SEPTEMBER 30, 1963, PAGE A3

2 DETECTIVES WOUNDED IN GUN BATTLE IMPROVING

Two Washington detectives who were shot Saturday in a gun battle with a fugitive who later killed himself were reported improving yesterday as police arrested an accomplice of the assailant.

At Washington Hospital Center, Det. Edward J. Cahill, 38, was listed in fair condition with a wound in the stomach. Det. Henry Perkoski, 35, was in satisfactory condition with a wound in the lower back.

The fugitive, John A. Smallwood, 19, whom police had sought on a warrant for a robbery committed after he escaped form the maximum security ward of St. Elizabeths Hospital, died late Saturday at D.C. General Hospital. Police said Smallwood apparently shot himself during a chase that followed the gun battle.

Early yesterday, police arrested Samuel Jones, 31, listed at 1459 Chapin st. nw., and charged him with joining Smallwood and another man in the $800 holdup Tuesday night of the Friends Auto Rental Agency at 1321 L st. nw. Jones was captured at a crowded lounge in the 2000 block of 14th st. nw. The third holdup man was arrested and charged with the robbery last Wednesday.

Smallwood had been admitted to St. Elizabeths for pre-trial examination after his indictment on charges that he robbed and raped a 20-year-old Washington housewife last June 12th.

He escaped from a maximum security ward Sept. 5 by talking his way past guards escorting another group of patients to a party, police said.

The chain of events brought a protest yesterday from District Commissioner Walter N. Tobriner about security precautions at St. Elizabeths.

Tobriner said, “I would not presume to talk about the medical treatment at St. Elizabeths. But it does seem to me high time that the authorities there take adequate steps to prevent the escape of persons who are potentially dangerous to the community.”

When reached for comment, Dr. Dale Cameron, superintendent of the hospital, said that he, too, was disturbed with the rate of escape from St. Elizabeths.

But Dr. Cameron stoutly defended maximum security policies. He said that though about 90 inmates are now missing from the institution, not one of them escaped from the maximum security ward. Smallwood, he added was only the second person to escape from the 390-bed ward.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JANUARY 18, 1964, PAGE B3

2 POLICEMEN HONORED FOR ROLES IN GUN DUEL

Two Washington policemen were given Policemen of the Month Awards yesterday at a luncheon in Almas Temple for risking their lives last fall in a gun duel with a robbery suspect.

Rep. John L. McMillan (D-S.C.), as an honor guest at the luncheon, had high praise for the local police force. He said he was not sure that it hadn’t displaced England’s Scotland Yard as the No. 1 police force in the world.

McMillan had especial praise for the recipients of the Award, both of whom were wounded last Sept. 28 by the suspect who later shot himself fatally in a basement in the first block of M st. nw.

The citation accompanying the Award detailed the circumstances of the fatal encounter in the 1400 block of North Capitol st.

The policemen, Det. Henry R. Perkoski, of the Robbery Squad, and Pvt. Edward J. Cahill, of the Second Precinct, encountered 19-year-old John A. Smallwood, a St. Elizabeths Hospital escapee, near a restaurant he was known to frequent, the citation noted.

Asked for his identification, Smallwood drew a .38-caliber revolver and shot down both policemen, Perkoski in the thigh and Cahill in the abdomen. Both officers returned the fire, but Smallwood fled into the basement where he took his own life. The victim had been committed for mental observation after his arrest on a rape charge.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED DECEMBER 2, 1964, PAGE B8

POLICE DEPARTMENT SLATES MORE PROMOTIONS

A series of Police Department promotions to fill vacancies created by retirements, the creation of the Community Relations Division, and the elevation of Deputy Police Chief John B. Layton to chief, will be effected either this week or next.

The reassignment of Insp. George E. Causey to be second in command of the new Human (?) Relations Division and the imminent retirements of Insp. Richard J. Felber and William T. Murphy create vacancies in that rank, but selection of the captains who will fill them still is under consideration.

The shift of Capt. Joseph Osterman to be second in command of the Traffic Division with the rank of Inspector leaves three captaincies to be filled in the uniform ranks.

Reporting to the medical clinic yesterday for examinations preliminary to their swearing in as new captains were Lts. Morris B. Bagley, Michael F. Molesky and Thomas F. Wert Jr.

To fill their posts were Sgts. James Salt Jr., Thomas J. Wolfrey and Joseph M. Frye. To fill vacancies created by the shift of three lieutenants to the Human Relations Division and by the retirement of a fourth were Sgts. William Preloh, Thomas A. Bowles Jr., James W. Heflin and George Brill. Uniformed privates to be promoted to sergeants were:

Pvts. Robert E. Ellis, Bryant A. Hopkins, Edward J. Cahill, John L. Becker, George P. Day Jr., Joseph P. Basaman, Damion L. Romanelli and George West.

Plainclothes lieutenants taking their physicals for promotion to captains were Mahlon E. Pitts and Edwin F. Talbot. Detective Sergeants examined for promotion to lieutenants were Everett A. Sadler, Patrick L. Burke and Marvin J. Sears.

Detectives examined for promotion to detective sergeant were Augustus Finley Jr., Ronald J. Jefferson and Edward J. White. Plainclothes men examined for promotion to detective were William J. Boyle, John H. Mitchell, John Georgantis and Robert P. Jones.

Swearing-in ceremonies have been scheduled tentatively Friday, but may have to be deferred a week because of Chief Layton’s absence from the city to attend a three day human-relations seminar in New York City this week.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JANUARY 14, 1965, PAGE A1

1ST NEGRO NAMED CAPTAIN OF POLICE

The Washington Police Department is scheduled to get its first Negro captain the first of next month

He is Lt. Owen W. Davis, currently assigned to the Community Relations Division, a 49 year-old veteran of 25 years service on the force—23 of them in the Second Precinct.

Lt. Davis will head the Civil Service list from which promotions to captain are made. The vacancy he’ll fill will be occasioned by the retirement Feb. 1 of Capt. Albert B. Clark, 62, the Department’s senior man in point of service.

Capt. Clark, who has been hospitalized twice in the last six months, goes before the Retirement Board on Thursday. A member of the force since Aug. 2, 1924, he commanded the Tenth Precinct for 12 years before his transfer last May 10 to Administrative Headquarters where he is serving as assistant to the night supervisor.

Currently, Davis is second on the promotion list, behind Lt. Walter R. Bishop, of the First Precinct, who will be sworn in as a captain at 10 a.m. Friday. He will transfer to the International Investigations Unit. At 37, Bishop will be one of the force’s youngest captains. His 16 years of police service has been spent mostly in the Sixth and First Precincts.

Following Davis’s promotion next month, the Department will not be long in getting its second Negro officer ever to serve in the captaincy rank. Lt. Tillman O’Bryant heads the list for promotions from the plainclothes ranks and awaits the next detective captain vacancy.

Other promotions Friday will raise:

Sgt. Robert L. Rabe, of No. 9, to a lieutenant in No. 2; Det. Edward J. Cahill, of the Chief Clerk’s office, to a sergeant at the Police Academy, and Pvt. Percy C. Guthridge Jr., to a sergeant in No. 6.

Also, Dets. Charles E. Rinaldi and Robert T. Keahon to detective sergeants, and Pvts. William H. Cross and Ellsworth D. Dory to detective.

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WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED JANUARY 16, 1967, PAGE C1

FORMER SHOP EMPLOYEE IS CHARGED IN THEFT OF ANTIQUES WORTH $8,000.

An antique restorer who left his job last month because the work was “too heavy” and there was “too much tension” has been charged with stealing $8,000 worth of antiques from his employer over the past three years.

Michael Arpad, one of Washington’s largest antique dealers, discovered the theft while visiting a friend’s shop in Georgetown after the employe’s departure.

Five 18thcentury Chinese Export spoon trays looked familiar but Arpad—who has stores at 1400 Wisconsin ave. nw., 3125 M st. nw. and 121 King st., Alexandria—first went back and checked his stock. He found he was missing five 18th-century Chinese Export spoon trays.

When the other dealer told him that she had bought the porcelain spoon trays in New York City, Arpad decided to call in police to help him retrace their route.

Since the Pawn Inspectors Squad there keeps records of all second-hand purchases, it was easy to confirm the address of the New York City dealer. Arpad, Det. Sgt. Henry Perkoski and two New York detectives went to the Upper East Side shop.

There and in another shop in the neighborhood they found more of Arpad’s stock. The dealers produced canceled checks to show that they had bought it from Robert Norman Jones, who resigned Dec. 16 after working for Arpad for almost eight years.

The New York City police subsequently found four other shops with Arpad’s property. Six thousand dollars worth of antiques have been recovered so far, and Arpad, who now believes that he is missing at least $20,000 in silver, porcelain, paintings and other art objects, is going back to New York this week to look for more.

Jones, 33, of 1750 16th st. nw., was arrested last Tuesday and was arraigned before Court of General Sessions Judge Dewitt S. Hyde on a charge of grand larceny. He was released on personal bond for a hearing this Wednesday.

He listed tension and the heaviness of his work in an application be filed for unemployment compensation.

Arpad explained that he hadn’t noticed the antiques were missing from his two Georgetown stores and from closets in his Georgetown home because he had been busy moving into his new M st. store. The move also provided an opportunity for the antiques to be taken he said.

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