Sex Money Murder gang grew from Bronx to running drugs nationally

In the Soundview projects of the South Bronx, only the strong survived.

With a father in prison and a mother on drugs, Pipe knew he could not be weak — so he quit his job bagging groceries and started selling crack. His mother never asked where the cash came from. It bought clothes and groceries. He was, she acknowledged, the man of the house now.

Pipe was 11 years old. And just getting started.

Author Jonathan Green’s “Sex Money Murder” recounts how, within a few years, the kid helped launch a gang that went from ruling a few streets in the Bronx to running drugs up and down the East Coast and partying with Puff Daddy.

Until it all came crashing down.

The gang’s beginnings were modest. One day, 14-year-old Pistol Pete, another small-time hustler, asked Pipe to come by after school. Over strawberry Pop-Tarts, Pete asked a favor. New dealers were trying to muscle in on a friend’s territory. Could Pipe scare them off?

The 11-year-old nodded and left with a borrowed .22 pistol. He started shooting as soon as he saw the dealers. They ran, dripping blood. He turned around and walked home. He felt good.

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Former gang members turn to baking
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Former gang members turn to baking
Members of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, work in their bakery at the Eben Ezer church in the Dina neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador, June 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Wilfredo Gomez, member of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, does the accounts for the bakery project at the Eben Ezer church in the Dina neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador, July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A member of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) rests at the bakery at the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Roberto Renderos, member of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, prepares dough at their bakery in the Dina neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Members of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry prepare dough as they learn how to make bread at the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, June 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Roberto Renderos (L) and Joseph Ramirez of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, sell bread at the Dina in San Salvador, El Salvador, June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Roberto Renderos and Joseph Ramirez, members of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, sell bread in the Dina neighborhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Members of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, have lunch before a graduation at the Eben Ezer church in the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Roberto Renderos, member of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, washes vegetables which will be used on pizzas, at their bakery in the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Raul Valladares, member of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, works on the construction of the store front of their bakery at the Eben Ezer church in the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, July 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Raul Valladares of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, talks with his son at his home in the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, September 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Julio Marroquin, member of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, attends the wake of a fellow member in Colon, El Salvador, June 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
Raul Valladares of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, tries to fix a toy gun at his home in the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, August 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Raul Valladares of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, hangs clothes outside his home in the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, August 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Raul Valladares of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, watches TV with his son at his home in the Dina neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador, September 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Raul Valladares of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, has laser treatment during a tattoo removal session in San Salvador, El Salvador, October 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Roberto Renderos, member of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, gets a diploma for Human Rights and Peace Culture course during a graduation at the Eben Ezer church in the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Julio Marroquin, member of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, participates in a religious service at the Eben-Ezer christian church at the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, March 31, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Raul Valladares and Carlos Montano, members of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, sell bread in the Monserrat neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Roberto Renderos, member of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, gets ready for a graduation ceremony at the Eben Ezer church in the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A member of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, dances to christian songs during a storm at the Eben Ezer church in the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, July 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Members of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, attend the wake of a fellow member, in Colon, El Salvador, June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Raul Valladares of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, shows the secuels of the tattoo removal treatment at the Eben Ezer church in the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Julio Marroquin, (L), member of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, participates in a religious service at the Eben-Ezer christian church in the Dina neighbourhood of San Salvador, El Salvador, March 31, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Roberto Renderos, member of the "Huellas de Esperanza" (Traces of Hope) ministry, prepares dough at their bakery in the Dina neighbourhood in San Salvador, El Salvador, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas SEARCH "CABEZAS BAKERY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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It was easy to keep that feeling going and the money flowing. The ’90s had just begun. Crack was replacing heroin. Pistol Pete decided a new drug deserved new dealers.

He founded the Sex Money Murder gang on ideas gleaned from old mob movies. Loyalty was everything. Snitching was a death sentence. He recruited from the neighborhood — Pipe, of course. Suge, a big guy with a dogged sense of loyalty. And Twin, who had the world’s perfect alibi — a carbon-copy brother.

They were kids and they were fearless, settling scores in public. One man was killed in a busy bodega. Another was shot in Sweetwater’s, a crowded Manhattan nightclub.

It was a new generation.

“Y’all ain’t got no morals,” griped ET Larry, a disgusted older dealer, to the youngsters. “You come through the block in daylight shooting with a hundred witnesses! You don't care.”

He didn’t realize that being seen was the point. The SMM crew wanted people to know who they were. It made them feared — and famous.

The gang broadened its reach into other housing projects, other boroughs, other states. Small-time gangsters once happy to score a few hundred dollars now brought home thousands. Kids too young for a learner’s permit bought cars three at a time, paying cash, and stocked up on bling from G&G’s Jewelry on Southern Boulevard.

Pete bought a gold chain with a diamond-encrusted globe and the words “The World Is Yours.” It’s a reference to the movie “Scarface” with Al Pacino, and he presented it to Pipe the way a CEO would hand out a bonus.

As the years passed, the gang grew in power. Celebrities desperate for street cred befriended them. Puff Daddy put SMM members on the guest list to get into the Tunnel.

One night inside the Manhattan disco, when Pipe felt disrespected by Nas, he broke a bottle of Cristal over the rapper’s head.

When bouncers hurried over, Nas refused to point out Pipe. The rapper knew the code, and the cost for breaking it.

If celebrities liked the gangsters’ sense of danger, Pistol Pete craved legitimacy. Like Michael Corleone in “The Godfather,” he looked forward to a time when all of his money would be in legal enterprises.

He even discussed starting a rap label with model Tyson Beckford.

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Photographer's polaroids tell the story of crime in Chicago
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Photographer's polaroids tell the story of crime in Chicago
A person walks by a bullet hole in a restaurant window that is linked to the shooting of Manuel Hernandez, 30-year-old, taken at the 2700 block of West 51st Street in Chicago, Illinois on September 28, 2017. Hernandez was killed on September 21, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- ragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A vigil in the memory of Miriam Cruz Hurtado, 31-year-old, and her son Corbin Dallas Barraza, 4-year-old, in the 1700 block of North Mannheim Road in Stone Park, Illinois,on September 24, 2017. Hurtado and Barraza were both strangled and stabbed to death at their home on September 21, 2017. Daniel Barraza, 32-year-old, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Johnson 'John John' Liggins Jr.,17-year-old, at the Gatlings Funeral Home in Chicago, Illinois on November 3, 2017. Higgins died from gunshots to his head and chest in the 8000 block of South Coles Avenue on October 23, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A vigil for Damien Santoyo, 14-year-old, who died on August 6, 2017 on the steps after being shot in the head during a drive-by shooting in the 1700 block of South Newberry Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on August 7, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
The bicycles of 5-year-old twins Addison and Makayla Henning are seen on their front lawn in the 400 block of North Reed Street in suburban Joliet, Illinois on August 31, 2017. The girls died from multiple gun shots to the head and their mother Celisa Henning, 41-year-old, died from a single gunshot on August 28, 2017 in what police are investigating as a murder-suicide. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Troy Burtin, 25-year-old, is remembered on a cross in the 3400 block of West Walnut Street in Chicago, Illinois on June 21, 2017. Burton was shot in the head and chest in the 2700 block of West Lexington and died on September 2, 2015. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A vigil for Damien Santoyo, 14-year-old, who died on August 6, 2017 on the steps after being shot in the head during a drive-by shooting in the 1700 block of South Newberry Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on August 7, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A rose and melted wax from candles used at a vigil for Daniel Cordova, 26-year-old, in the 2500 block of West 46th Place in Chicago, Ilinois on May 8, 2017. Cordova, was found dead at the scene on May 7, 2017, and died of multiple gunshot wounds. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Candles are lit in memory of Joshua Rayborn, 28-year-old, outside his home in the 2900 block of South Arch Street in Chicago, Illinois on September 20, 2017. Rayburn, who is married with two children, died form a gunshot wound to his chest on September 18, 2017. An 18-year-old is charged with first-degree murder in his death. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Police tape marking off a crime scene near the 2600 block of West 46th Place where Adriana Williams, 27-year-old, and her brother Michael Williams, 24-year-old, were killed in Chicago, Illinois on May 8, 2017. Both Williams' were shot on May 7, 2017, while attending a memorial for their friend Daniel Cordova, 26-year-old, who was killed around 13 hours earlier on the same block. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Flowers are placed in a doorway for Cynthia Trevillion, 64-year-old, at the 6900 block of North Glenwood Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on October 15, 2017. Trevillion, a teacher at Chicago Waldorf School in Rogers Park, was an unintended target and caught in crossfire from a drive-by shooting while walking with her husband. Trevillion died from gunshot wounds to her head and neck on October 13, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Flowers and a candle are placed in a bush for Jeyson Gonzalez, 15-year-old, in an alley near the 4400 block of Maplewood Avenue in Chicago in this photo taken October 28, 2017. Gonzalez was shot wile walking in the alley with another boy, who was also seriously wounded in the incident on October 26, 2017. Two teenagers have been charged with his murder. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A sign is posted on a tree for a memorial for Elizabeth Kennedy, 36-year-old, in the 3300 block of West Marquette Road in Chicago, Illinois on October 25, 2017. Kennedy, a mother of three, was stabbed in the chest while trying to break up an argument on October 21, 2017. Eddie Crowder, 50-year-old, is charged with first-degree murder. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A vigil for Semaj Crosby, 17-month-old, outside her home in the 300 block of Louis Road in Joliet, Illinois on April 28, 2017. Crosby was reported missing on April 25, but was later found under a couch in her home on April 27. Her death is being ruled as a homicide by asphyxia. No one has been charged in her death. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A memorial on a man hole cover for Ida Arvizu, 28-year-old, in the 4700 block of South Fairfield Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on September 17, 2017. Arvizu, who was pregnant, and also has a 7 year-old daughter, was shot and killed with three other victims while sitting in a car on September 15, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A teddy bear is placed in a chain link fence for Jeanine Dowell, 32-year-old, and Juliet Washington, 41-year-old, in the 5400 block of South Wabash in Chicago, Illinois on June, 29, 2017. Both women were killed from multiple gunshot wounds while driving in a car on June 28, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A vigil for Gustavo Garcia, 10-year-old, on the overpass at East 95th and Avenue N in Chicago, Illinois on July 19, 2017. Garcia was fatally shot in the back while riding in a vehicle with his step-father on July 15, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A message is written on a post for Michelle 'Kano' Cano, 21-year-old, in the 4700 block of South Fairfield Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on September 17, 2017. Cano was shot to death, along with three others, while sitting in a car on September 15, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A cross for Jawon Garrett sits among dozens of other crosses at a make-shift memorial for the victims of violence in the 5500 block of South Bishop Street in Chicago, Illinois on September 25, 2017. Garrett, 40-year-old, died from multiple gunshots to the body in 2300 block of West Madison Street on September 13, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A wilted rose is placed on a wooden cross for Juan A, Vasquez, 35-year-old, at a makeshift memorial in Chicago, Illinois on June 29, 2017. Vasquez died from his injuries on January 11, 2017, 11 days after being shot in the head. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A mural is painted on the side of store in the 400 block of East 63rd Street in Chicago, an area also known as 'Murder Drive' in this photo taken October 11, 2017. The area is also known as 'O Block' near where former first lady Michelle Obama grew up. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A memorial for Xavier Joy, 23-year-old, in a parking lot in the 6200 block of South Ingleside Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on November 3, 2017. Joy was shot several times and died June 8, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A brick with the name of Hadiyah Pendleton, 15-year-old, is seen stacked up with the bricks for other victims of violence at the Kids Off the Block Memorial in the 11600 block of South Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on October 9, 2017. Pendleton, a majorette, who performed at U.S. President Barack Obama's second inauguration, was shot in the back in the 4500 block of South Oakenwald Avenue on January 29, 2013. Two alleged gang member have been arrested and charged with her murder. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A balloon for Community Activist William 'Willie' Cooper, 58-year-old, is seen next to a billboard in the 100 block of West 95th Street in Chicago, Illinois on July 18, 2017. Cooper was shot in the mouth and torso from an AR-15 assault rifle during a drive-by shooting and died at the scene on July 15, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A memorial for Eduardo Pena, 21-year-old, at the 5700 block of South Kenzie Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on October 25, 2017. Pena, who was driving in a vehicle, was rammed from behind by a driver in a truck and crashed into a tree two blocks away. Pena died from injuries from the crash on October 22, two days before his birthday. Police are treating it as a homicide. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Balloons blow in the wind as part of a memorial for Kenta Holyfield, 39-year-old, and Lonnie Hartman, 31-year-old, outside a store in the 3800 block of West Augusta in Chicago, Illinois on October 28, 2017. Holyfield who died from gunshots to his head and chest, and Hartman who was shot multiple times in his body, were both murdered on October 27, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Flowers are placed in a doorway for Cynthia Trevillion, 64-year-old, at the 6900 block of North Glenwood Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on October 15, 2017. Trevillion, a teacher at Chicago Waldorf School in Rogers Park, was an unintended target and caught in crossfire from a drive-by shooting while walking with her husband. Trevillion died from gunshot wounds to her head and neck on October 13, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Crosses lay in memory of family members including Rosaura Martinez, 58-year-old, who was stabbed to death in the 5700 block of South California Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on September 26, 2017. Martinez and 5 others were found dead in their home on February 4, 2016. Diego Uribe Cruz, 22-year-old, and Jafeth Ramos, 19-year-old, have been charged in the robbery that turned to murder on February 4, 2016. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A paramedic's glove is seen on the ground at 200 block of South Hoyne Avenue in Chicago, Illinois where Antwon High, 26-year-old, on June 21, 2017. High died from a gunshot wound to the chest on June 20, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Michael Fickett,17-year-old, is remembered on a mural for victims of murder in the 2700 block of 47th street in Chicago, Illinois on September 20, 2017. Fickett was shot in the chest in the 5700 block of South Homan and died August 9, 1992. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A cross is laid in honor of Elliott Brown, 25-year-old, in a field next to New Life Covenant Church in Chicago, Illinois on June 20, 2017. Brown was shot in his car while driving on the Chicago Skyway bridge January 13, 2016. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A memorial in a parking lot for Tony Haywood, 25-year-old, in the 7900 block of South Chicago Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on July 23, 2017. Haywood died from multiple gunshot wounds and family member used white pain to cover up the blood from the shooting which happened on July 17, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A memorial for Jazebel Aleman, 3-year-old, near her home in the 2500 block of South Homan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on June 21, 2017. Aleman died of multiple injuries resulting from an assault on June 18, 2017. Prosecutors have charged Eduardo Aleman, 26-year-old, with the beating death of his daughter. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Balloons are tied to a pole in memory of Jeremy Scullark, 28-year-old, on the feeder ramp to the Dan Ryan Expressway near Cermak Road in Chicago, Illinois on April 22, 2017. Scullark was shot and killed while driving in a car on April 19, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A vigil for Irving Estrada, 17-years-old, in the 1600 block of South 56th Court in Cicero, Illinois, on August 23, 2017. Estrada was shot while playing basketball on the court on August 22, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A memorial in a parking lot for Tony Haywood, 25-year-old, in the 7900 block of South Chicago Avenue in Chicago, Illinois on July 23, 2017. Haywood died from multiple gunshot wounds and family member used white pain to cover up the blood from the shooting which happened on July 17, 2017. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
A man holds up a sign during a memorial for Emmanuel Fleming, 34-year-old, and Michael Swift, 46-year-old, in Chicago, Illinois on August 14, 2017. Fleming and Swift were shot on the steps of the Friendship Baptist Church in the 200 block of South Laramie Avenue as they arrived for Sunday service on August 13, 2017. Both men died from multiple gunshot wounds. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Melted candles lay on the ground in memory of Angelique Morris, 17-years-old, in the 10400 block of Michael Todd Terrace in Glenview, Illinois, in this photo taken July 10, 2017. Morris died from a gunshot wound to the head in the 9900 block of Linda Lane in Des Plaines, Illinois on July 8, 2017. A 17-year-old boy has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
Police investigate the shooting deaths of Emmanuel Fleming, 34-year-old, and Michael Swift, 46-year-old, at the Friendship Baptist Church in Chicago in this photo taken August 13, 2017. Fleming and Swift were shot on the steps of the church in the 200 block of South Laramie Avenue as they arrived for Sunday service on August 13, 2017. Both men died from multiple gunshot wounds. These are the images of Chicago's murders -- tragedies playing out in the third largest American city in numbers unmatched by any other major US metropolis. Canadian photographer Jim Young spent six months chronicling the human toll of the runaway bloodshed plaguing the Midwest's capital and his adopted hometown, captured through images of memorials and murder scenes. / AFP PHOTO / JIM YOUNG (Photo credit should read JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images)
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When Pete made the Daily News in 1995, though, it wasn’t in the entertainment section. “Most Wanted in the Bronx,” the headline read.

The story ran his picture, and said police sought Pete in connection with a Harlem murder.

Lying low was the move for old-school gangsters after publicity like that. Pistol Pete celebrated instead, taking the gang to a Red Lobster in Yonkers and toasting his new fame.

They later had the story reprinted on T-shirts distributed as souvenirs.

There were other indications their drug world was spinning out of control.

Revolvers gave way to assault weapons; bodies were dumped in plain sight. Nothing was off limits.

When R&B singer Bobby Brown owed $25,000 to a New Jersey drug dealer, a hoodlum known as Preacher bought the debt, kidnapped the star and tortured him in a Bronx apartment — until Whitney Houston ponied up a $400,000 ransom.

White gangsters started putting on police uniforms and “arresting” drug dealers, then driving them to Jersey and holding them for $1 million apiece. When one victim hesitated calling his brother for the ransom money, the gang took a staple gun to his genitals.

When one family balked at the price on their loved one’s head, the gang killed him.

Paranoia spread, infesting the SMM gang. Pistol Pete began suspecting friends of plotting against him. When a drug charge landed him in a North Carolina jail in 1997, he sent a message back to Suge alleging that Twin was a rat who needed to be killed.

Suge did as he was told, but didn’t believe that Twin had flipped. He wondered if Pete had only ordered it to eliminate a possible rival, if anybody was really safe anymore. He wondered what came next.

What loomed was a series of indictments. For years, the FBI had concentrated its racketeering efforts on the Mafia. The institutional and accepted racism was that black gangsters only killed other black gangsters.

The attitude allowed gangs like SMM to build huge criminal enterprises and destroy entire neighborhoods.

A few stubborn police detectives, though — like John O’Malley, who grew up on Soundview Aven. — pushed forward, backed by a pair of dedicated prosecutors.

They started making arrests and squeezing the SMM gangsters to make deals. Their approach worked: Suge took a deal. So did Pipe. So did a lot of other SMM members.

Not Pistol Pete, though. With the help of Suge’s testimony, he was brought up on 28 criminal charges, including racketeering, murder, kidnapping, tampering with a witness “and the use of a machine gun in furtherance of some of those crimes.”

A gangster to the end, the 26-year-old shrugged and pleaded guilty.

On Nov. 8, 2000, the judge passed sentence. Pistol Pete — aka Peter Rollack — was barred from further communication with known gang associates. He would pay the families of his victims $25,400 in restitution. And he was sentenced to life in prison, plus 105 years.

“More time than John Gotti,” his pals bragged.

Suge and Pipe are free again, although maybe not for long. Green notes they’ve been in and out of trouble. Pistol Pete remains in a supermax prison in Colorado.

His gang is in tatters, clinging to power in a few cities, including Newark and upstate Kingston.

In 2001, a federal grant paid to paint over a wall in Soundview, long covered in eulogies to slain thugs. Local schoolkids collaborated on a picture of a colorful jungle scene. While they worked, mysterious men walked slowly past, muttering threats.

The mural was later defaced with pink paint. It was repaired. It was defaced again. It was repaired again. It was defaced again.

There were still some legends, it seemed, that people refused to let die.

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