Chicago Gang History

Status: Active

Four Corner Hustlers

ColorsBlack and brown 1968-1977, Black and gold 1977-present, and Black and red 1978-present
Primary ethnicitiesAfrican American
SymbolsNumber "4," black diamond 1986-present, crescent moon, cane, top hat, gloves, playboy bunny 1977-present,"solid"
AffiliationPeople since 1978
FounderKing Walter Wheat
Founding year1968
Founding neighborhoodWest Garfield Park
Main neighborhoodJust about everywhere

 

A quote from the Chicago Tribune on August 19, 1994 sums it up best for the early history of the Four Corner Hustlers, “There was a time when the Four Corner Hustlers actually stood for four corners, representing a meager six square blocks on the West Side.” (Papajohn, Chicago Tribune Aug 19, 1994). 

There was indeed a time back in the year 1968 that two Vice Lord teenage boys had an idea of how to protect a certain area in the West Garfield Park neighborhood from invaders from outside the area that threatened the neighborhood with drug dealing, gangbanging and violence.  The idea of the Four Corner Hustlers was one thing, neighborhood protection, and that did not mean only protection for their members but for everyone that lived in this territory.  The territory was Madison Street and Pulaski Road, Independence Boulevard and Madison Street, Pulaski Road and Jackson Boulevard and Independence Boulevard and Jackson Boulevard and all the street corners in between including Jackson and Springfield, Springfield and Adams, Springfield and Wilcox, Springfield and Monroe, Springfield and Madison, Madison and Hamlin, Monroe and Hamlin, Hamlin and Wilcox, Adams and Hamlin, Jackson and Hamlin, Pulaski and Monroe, Pulaski and Wilcox and Pulaski and Adams.  That is quite a bit of territory for a brand new gang but 17 year old Walter Wheat who had just left the Unknown Vice Lords, (born April 11, 1951), and another Vice Lord named 15 year old Marvin Evans made it happen.  They organized it with another Unknown Vice Lord, 15 year old Freddie Gage, Richard “Lefthand Goodman,” and Monroe “Money” Banks and approximately 7 others.  Freddie Gage would become second in command over this new organization. 

They formed a fighting gang not a drug dealing gang or a gang that destroyed their own neighborhood in protest and anger like the Vice Lords did back then, instead they were going to beat down any gang that came in there acting destructive.  This idea was all put together at Delano playground at the corner of Springfield and Wilcox.  The Four Corner Hustlers had strict rules to abide by, no drug dealing, no drug using (not even Marijuana), no mugging, no burglarizing, but shop lifting and stealing from delivery trucks was fully acceptable.  Any violence inflicted on rival gangs was acceptable too, shooting, stabbing, cracking skulls, whatever needed to be done to show who was running those corners was acceptable.

On February 14, 1972 Four Corner Hustlers and Unknown Vice Lord gang members attended a Valentine’s day dance at 3906 Lexington Ave (corner of Springfield and Lexington) at the Presentation Catholic Church.  The dance was an invite only situation and officer Henderson Arnold told everyone they must have a membership card in order to stay at the dance in the basement.  18 year old Freddie Gage was one that did not have an invitation and Officer Arnold told him to leave, when he refused a struggle happened between the officer and Gage that resulted in Arnold’s gun firing off which caused a bullet to hit Officer Arnold in his face and neck.  Afterward Four Corner Hustler Leo Walker came up with his .22 caliber derringer and started shooting at Arnold as well while Freddie Gage and Walter Wheat tackled him according to court documents.  As officer Arnold tried to escape he was being shot at.  Arnold survived and needed surgery to repair the damage, he was shot three times.  It was at this point in time that Frederick “King Freddie” Gage now was sentenced to do 10 years in prison for this attempted murder, and it was at this point in time that the Four Corner Hustlers were first documented; however, they were not widely known (People vs. Walker, 1975) 

Even though Four Corner Hustlers were violent as could be and were heavily into robbing trucks and stores, they were not a heavily organized conglomerate with thousands of members like the Black Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, Black P Stones or Latin Kings.  The Four Corner Hustlers remained rather small in size and did what they needed to do to protect their turf and to hustle and make money without resorting to destroying the neighborhood with drugs.  That was the job of rivals like the Vice Lords and nearby Black Gangster Disciples.

Around about 1975 Walter Wheat was sent to prison for aggravated assault and other charges.  He was to spend over 10 years in prison.  At this point without King Wheat or King Freddie the Four Corner Hustlers began to be slowly seduced by the lull of the Heroin trade that was forbidden by Walter Wheat and Freddie Gage.  Around this time the Black Souls were getting larger in number in West Garfield Park and wanted to expand their drug trade.  The new Black Soul leader was Wayne “Jack Bobo” Edwards and he was looking for a new opportunity at Monroe and Pulaski.  This corner was original 4CH territory but Jack Bobo was looking to make some profits, he offered to operate here respectfully as they would team up against the Vice Lords or any Black Gangster Disciples that came in to the area.  This was the creation of the “440+” concept that united Four Corner Hustlers and Black Souls to create “Mad Black Souls.”  This was a small start for Four Corner Hustlers to be involved in the drug trade, although it was impossible for them to operate at a high level because it would fall under the radar of the imprisoned leadership.

In 1977 leaders Walter Wheat, Monroe Banks and Freddie Gage needed better protection while locked up in prison so they drew up a truce with the Vice Lord nation, this would stop all wars in prison and on the streets.

On November 11, 1978 the People Nation alliance was formed and the Vice Lords were one of the main organizations to put it together and in charge of what organizations get in.  The Four Corner Hustlers were fairly new of an organization and did not have much to offer the People alliance as far as advancing the drug trade; therefore, the Four Corner Hustlers joined the Vice Lord nation while in prison as Vice Lord branch.  On the streets this did not mean that 4s were going around claiming Vice Lord, it only meant a change in colors from black and brown to black and gold and peace with Vice Lords and it also meant a conversion to Islam just as the Vice Lord nation had done to unite with El Rukns.

As time passed and the 1980s rolled in the Four Corner Hustlers were slowly slipping away from Walter Wheat’s grasp as him and Gage were still locked up and the 4s were slowly engaging in more and more drug dealing.  In late October of 1983 Freddie Gage was scheduled to be released from prison after his 10 year stint for attempted murder of a Chicago Police Officer on the Valentine’s day shooting in 1972.  On the day before his release he celebrated by drinking some bad moonshine that ended up killing him, he died at 29 years old.  On November 1, 1983 a massive funeral service was put together for Gage which brought 5,000 people to his funeral.  The funeral consisted of many members of the Vice Lords and Four Corner Hustlers and several others.  There was a massive line down Chicago Ave that caused one lane of traffic to be blocked and Police needed to direct the traffic (Chicago tribune Jan 8, 1984 pg 1).  This story made the first page in the Chicago Tribune but the funny thing is they called him a Conservative Vice Lord leader and did not even mention the Four Corner Hustlers, this shows that the 4s were not quite known yet in Chicago, but that would soon change.  The first of the main founders of the nation Freddie “AL Malik Hodari” Gage now was laid to rest.

In 1985 Marvin “Shorty” Evans retired from the gang life and found religion leaving just Walter Wheat and Monroe “Money” Banks as original leaders of the organization but both were in prison.  In 1986 Monroe Banks was released from prison after doing time for a 1975 charge of robbery, rape and unlawful restraint. 

On November 17, 1975 Monroe Banks, Ray Surges and Philip Smith plotted to rob J Starks at gun point.  After Starks gave up all his money it was not enough so Banks and the two others forced Starks into their trunk and took Starks to his house according to court documents.  When they got to the house, Banks pistol whipped Starks and knocked him out while the three others robbed the house. Court documents show that Banks and Smith raped the wife and 14 year old daughter.  By the time Banks was on trial for these crimes he was brought up on murder charges that same year and was sentenced to 15-30 years (People V. Surges, November 9, 1981). 

In the year 1986, Banks was released early out on parole.  As soon as Banks hit the streets he found the Four Corner Hustlers were selling drugs in small quantities and loving the money that came with it.  Banks would show them a higher level of dealing that would make the 4s richer than ever with now the distribution of Crack Cocaine.  He set up a complex drug operation and expanded Four Corner Hustler territory into the northern part of the Austin neighborhood which was the beginning of the true growth of the Four Corner Hustlers.  Right away drug profits began stacking up and Monroe Banks was living up to his nickname “Money.”  He also created the black diamond symbol to represent the new found profits and the new order.  This was a hell of a come up for the 4s and this led to more violent behavior so much that in the late 1980s when Walter Wheat was released from prison he did not recognize his 4s anymore and left the leadership to Banks; however, Wheat still had a major voice in the organization. 

These younger 4s were a new breed of killer types that followed every teaching of Monroe Banks and they modeled after him.  Banks was known to be ruthless and very serious about not letting competition get in his way, this led to increased gang wars into the very early 1990s.  This also led to the death of Monroe Banks in August of 1991.  According to the history Channel’s show Gangland he was shot while watching a man try to get a cat down from a tree, then a member of the Black Souls shot him dead.  This murder would of course further intensified the wars with Black Soul factions. 

By the end of his reign, Banks was able to have the Four Corner Hustlers open up shop in the Near West Side housing projects the Henry Horner Homes, and the Rockwell Gardens Homes.  He also took the 4s to the South side to open chapters in the Woodlawn neighborhood, Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, Leclaire Courts Homes by Midway Airport in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood at 43rd and Cicero Ave, Marquette Park neighborhood, Kenwood neighborhood, South Shore neighborhood, Roseland neighborhood and the West Pullman neighborhood.  The 4s also grew into some Chicago land suburbs and other states.

After Monroe “Money” “AL Ghani” Banks was killed the throne was wide open and Walter Wheat was not going to step back instead he appointed his soon to be son-in-law Angelo “Lo” Roberts to be the new leader of the organization.  Lo was only 21 years old but wanted to rule the nation badly and the money and power that went with it.  Wheat was hoping the father of his grandchild would bring the 4s to a more controllable level and smooth out operations.  Roberts instead brought even more expansion than ever and opened up territory on the northwest side in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood.  This was a white neighborhood that was turning Latino so he called these 4s the “Spanish Four Corner Hustlers.” 

The Spanish 4CHs opened up on Lockwood Ave and immediately made new enemies that were not just Folks but also went at it with the Taylor Jousters and the Latin Pachucos.  Angelo Roberts also made the organization no longer a gang for just blacks, now all races could join up north and in the suburbs. This would of course grow the 4CH army numbering over 1,000 members in no time.  Angelo also grew the organization in many other states like Atlanta, Georgia for example that still pays homage to him.  Roberts had also set up a complex drug operation in the Rockwell Gardens housing projects and the Henry Horner Homes and was moving thousands if not millions of dollars worth of Crack and Heroin within these buildings.  The Chicago Police clamped down on him and did a major raid on his operation which got Roberts in jail. 

Roberts was then hell bent on revenge and wanted to send a message to the Police and the whole world that if you bust in on his operation there will be major consequences.  Roberts also had Walter Wheat breathing down his neck telling him what should be done and others listened to Wheat and put Roberts in check, by 1994 Roberts despised this and saw Wheat as someone in the way of all that Angelo wanted to accomplish.  When Roberts got out of Prison in June of 1994 he began his escapades. 

On July 25, 1994 Angelo Roberts plotted on the death of Walter Wheat.  On this Monday July 25, 1994, 43 year old Walter Wheat was sitting in a 1982 Oldsmobile Regency waiting for his friends to come back out as they were in a clothing store at the 3800 block of West Chicago Ave.  As he sat there a shirtless 17 year old Bobby Cooley rode up on the car with a 9mm pistol and fired two shots into his back and the back of his head.  The founder/leader and long time leader behind the leaders of the Four Corner Hustlers was now killed by his own gang.  By September, Cooley was apprehended and charged with another shooting as well, he is currently doing a life sentence for killing King Walter “Al Bahdee Hodari” Wheat (Chicago Tribune George Papajohn, August 19, 1994).

Roberts attempted to buy all the high powered weapons in what he thought was a deal with drug dealers as he attempted to buy a LAWS anti tank rocket in exchange for cash and drugs.  It turned out he was trying to buy from ATF agents.  Somehow there was no arrest at the scene because Roberts got suspicious and went into hiding for the rest of 1994.  Roberts wanted to use this weapon to blow up the Police headquarters at 3151 W. Harrison St on Chicago’s west side for revenge for interrupting his drug operations in the housing projects (Chicago Tribune Andrew Martin, January 17, 1995).

On January 16th 1995 at 1:00 A.M. CPD found the body of Roberts at 7009 S. vernon (70th and Vernon) right near the Park Manor apartments in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood.  He was found with his throat slashed in the back of a brown Chevy.  No one has ever been caught in connection for the murder but it is rumored CPD may have done it but that is not even close to verified (Chicago Tribune Andrew Martin, January 17, 1995).

After the death of Angelo Roberts, Ray Longstreet took over leadership of the Four Corner Hustlers, eventually the Four Corner Hustlers would grow to have over 18,000 members.  Many Four Corner Hustlers still pay homage to Angelo Roberts, Monroe Banks and Walter Wheat.  The Four Corner Hustlers would eventually grow to have over 10,000 members.

Please send in 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s pics!

Questions:

  1. What exact year was Walter Wheat locked up, and what exact year was he released?

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