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Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Bowie-Knife Toting Police Officer

Martin Aguirre was a famed Los Angeles County sheriff in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though he rode all over the county tracking down cattle rustlers, and made numerous high-risk arrests, he never carried a pistol, preferring a well-honed bowie knife, which he kept in a sheath slung in the armhole of his vest. To one interviewer, he explained, “You see, if anything starts I don't know where bullets might go or whom they might hit, but I know where this knife is going.”
Aguirre served as deputy sheriff under Sheriff William A. Hammel. According to the Los Angeles Times:
Martin and Hammel had one curious fracas. Martin had a warrant to serve on a man who as known as a bad hombre. He happened to come across him on Spring street, just below First.
Martin pulled the big razor-sharp bowie that he always carried; backed the crook off into a door way and handed him the warrant.
"Stick up your hands," said Martin.
Suddenly he felt the muzzle of a gun poked into his own back. "Stick 'em up," said the crook's pal to Martin.
Suddenly the pal felt the muzzle of a gun in his spine and Billie Hammel's voice said to him, "Stick 'em up yourself."
They stood there for a moment; then the crook who had the point of Martin's knife in his tum-tum stuck up his hands and the group dissolved.

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