All Our Fallen Heroes
Badges of Honor: 1929 - 1939
Badges of Honor: 1940 - 1949
Badges of Honor: 1950 - 1959
Badges of Honor: 1960 - 1969
Badges of Honor: 1970 - 1979
Badges of Honor: 1980 - 1989
Badges of Honor: 1990 - 1999
Badges of Honor: 2000 - 2009
Badges of Honor: 2010 - Today
The CHP 11-99 Foundation
Badges of Honor Magazine
The Newhall Incident
The words Newhall and tragedy became forever synonymous on April 6, 1970. On that day four young California Highway Patrol officers lost their
lives in a 4-1/2 minute gun battle that left four women widows and seven children, ranging in age from 9 months to 4 years, without fathers. The
tremor that rolled through the CHP - and in fact, all law enforcement - spoke of grief for lost comrades and their suffering families, of
organizational concern with the urgency of rethinking high-risk stop procedures, of humility imposed by such a catastrophic event, and then, the
iron resolve to prevent a reoccurrence.
The 25th anniversary of this sad day was observed in April, 1995, at the present Newhall Area office, where a brick memorial pays tribute to
Officers James Pence (6885), Roger Gore (6547), Walt Frago (6520) and George Alleyn (6290). The memorial once stood at the former Newhall
office, but was rebuilt at the new site, about one mile from the scene of the slayings, which occurred in a restaurant parking lot just before
Officers Frago and Gore had been alerted by radio of a vehicle carrying someone who had brandished a weapon. They spotted the car, fell in
behind, called for backup, and began the stop procedure. When the subjects' vehicle had come to a halt in the parking lot, the driver was
instructed to get out and place his spread hands on the hood. Gore approached him and Frago moved to the passenger side. The right-side door
suddenly swung open and the passenger sprung out, firing at Frago, who fell with two shots in his chest. The gunman, later identified as Jack
Twinning, then turned and fired once at Gore, who returned fire. In that moment the driver, Bobby Davis, turned and shot Gore twice at close
range. Both officers died instantly.
When Pence and Alleyn drove in moments later, they could see neither suspects nor downed officers, but immediately came under fire. Pence put
out an 11-99 call ("officer needs help") then took cover behind the passenger door. Alleyn grabbed the shotgun, and positioned himself behind
the driver-side door. Both officers were mortally wounded in the ensuing exchange, and one subject was hit.
Suspects Jack Twinning and Bobby Davis escaped, later abandoned their vehicle and then split up. For nine hours, officers blanketed the area
searching for the killers.
Twinning broke into a house and briefly held a man hostage. Officers used tear gas before storming the house, but the suspect killed himself
using the shotgun he had stolen from Officer Frago. Davis was captured, stood trial and convicted on four counts of murder.
Bobby Davis was sentenced to die in the gas chamber, but in 1972 the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty to be cruel and unusual
punishment and in 1973, the court modified Davis's sentence to life in prison. For many years, he was incarcerated at Folsom State Prison, but
was last known to have been moved to Pelican Bay State Prison, the home of California's most notorious criminals.
In the weeks immediately after the four deaths, the emotionally charged follow-up investigation sometimes lingered on fault-finding, but ultimately
achieved the desired catharsis - a completely revamped set of procedures to be followed during high-risk and felony stops, with emphasis at every
step on officer safety. If there can be such a thing as a silver lining in a cloud this dark, it would be the renewed focus on officer safety - a
concern still uppermost even thirty years later.
Firearms procedures have changed fundamentally, physical methods of arrest have been perfected, the police baton has become a more integral element
of enforcement tactics, and new protective tools (such as pepper spray) have become part of the officers' standard equipment. Along with these have
come far more comprehensive training - all combining to make uniformed personnel more alert and better prepared for the inevitable dangers faced by
At the 1995 memorial ceremony, family members and colleagues of the dead officers joined dignitaries and Highway Patrol officers who didn't know
the four men, but whose lives have been influenced by that fateful night in 1970. Officers Walt Frago, Roger Gore, James Pence and George Alleyn
will live forever in that special place of memory which the Highway Patrol reserves for those who have given their lives while on duty. These four
remain unique, because their memories evoke a sorrow never quite put behind us, and the knowledge that their sacrifice ultimately made the Highway
Patrol stronger, wiser, more resolute.
Return to Memorial Page 1970-1979