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Pete Pistoresi saw the killers

For The Madera Tribune

Pete Pistoresi, shown here on the far right, is in much more pleasant surroundings than he was 100 years ago when he witnessed the killing of a Madera cop on Highway 99.


Pete Pistoresi had more get-up-and-go than any two people had a right to expect. He was the founder of Pistoresi Chevrolet and Olds in Chowchilla, and before that he worked for Conrad Shebelut in Madera. Back in those days they called him “Chevrolet Pete,” because he once set a record for selling cars.

Long before he got into the automobile business, however, Pete worked for his father, Adolph, and his brother-in-law, Rasmo Mariscotti in their grocery store in Berenda. That’s where he was on November 10, 1923, when he heard the shots that killed Clarence Pickett, Madera’s second police officer to die in the line of duty.

Pete was standing out in front of the store when he saw a Dodge Coupe with four men in it being pulled over by Officer Pickett. The lawman got off his motorcycle and walked up to the car. Pistoresi thought to himself, “Well, they’re going to get pinched.” With that he went back inside, never dreaming that he had just witnessed Act One of a brutal murder drama.


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