The Newhall Incident: The Day Four Highway Patrol Officers Made The Ultimate Sacrifice

In April of 1970, two California Highway Patrol officers were informed via radio that a suspicious vehicle had been reported. The passenger had been seen with a weapon.

The officers, Walt Frago and Roger Gore found the car and started following it. They called for additional backup and initiated the stop.

The suspect stopped the car in a parking lot. Gore and Frago told the driver to exit the vehicle and put his hands on the car's hood. Gore walked up to the driver while Frago went to the passenger.

The passenger, Jack Twinning, flung his door opened, jumped out, firing at the officers. Frago took two shots to the chest. Gore was shot at once and quickly returned fire.

The driver, Bobby Davis, took the opportunity to grab his gun and shoot Gore. The two CHP officers died instantly.

Backup Arrives

Officers George Alleyn and James Pence pulled into the parking lot prepared to provide back up or Gore and Frago.

However, they saw the vehicles, but neither the suspects nor the other officers. Shots were coming out of nowhere. Pence sent out a call for more help.

Taking cover, he hid behind a passenger door. Alleyn armed himself with a shotgun and took cover behind the driver's side door. In the gunfire exchange that ensued, both of the officers received mortal wounds and they hit a suspect.

Searching for the Suspects

Both Twinning and Davis got away. They abandoned their car and went their separate ways.

After a nine hour search, Twinning was found in a home, holding a man hostage. Tear gas was used before the officers entered the home. Twinning used a shotgun from Officer Fargo to kill himself.

Bobby Davis was caught by the police and sentenced to death. However, in 1972 the death penalty was declared to be cruel and unusual punishment by the California Supreme Court.

Davis's sentence was adjusted to life in prison, dying in Kern Valley Prison in 2009.

Policy Changes

As a result of the Newhall incident, the CHP changed many of its processes to prevent a repeat incident.

Equipment like police batons was used more and pepper spray was added to every officer's tool belt. Training changed to better prepare officers for these scenarios in hopes that four women would not be widowed and seven children would not be left fatherless again.

Source: California Highway Patrol

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37 comments on “The Newhall Incident: The Day Four Highway Patrol Officers Made The Ultimate Sacrifice”

  1. It is sad they lose their life to protect us and this days they get the blame for doing their job . RIP to this who lost their life in a line of duty .

  2. Pepper spray and batons would have been worthless in this situation. These murderers were going to murder and murder cops. The killers are probably in hell laughing their heads off at the correction to solve this kind of problem is pepper spray and batons. You cannot read people's mind, that is the real problem. The murderers had their guns ready, the cops did not and the first cops were totally out in the open away from their cars. I'm am curious as to what the training decision was to prevent this from happening because it still happens today. Maybe better vests having to be worn at all times would help.

    1. GOD Bless our police and all the Bull Manure they have to put up with..........Think they should just start carrying hand grenades.........Sure would solve a lot of problems from those terrorists that buy their guns off the back end of a Panel Truck..........

    2. Apparently bullet proof vests weren't invented yet. They are now and maybe helmets might help with only a hole for eyes and mouth along with vests. You need to were helmets for bikes, why not cops. That might be an idea. The military in battle do helmets and vests, it gets hot but you're alive. If anybody has any ideas the police depts. should hear them. My Nephew would like to know.

  3. "Better vests.... at all times" never stop headshots. If the perps have in their minds to murder, they *will* murder, no matter what protections are utilized.

  4. The Men in Blue are not our enemy; they are out protectors. They need all the tools and training that would protect them while protecting us. They need us supporting them and their jobs.

  5. We must stand firm on contact with the police. When get stopped pull over where its safe be courteous sit still move slowly.Answer the officers questions. Dont run. Thats the law.make this as good as possible. Police are here to protect you are not a target

  6. That is when we all had wheel guns! And speedy loaders came to be. and we did not have vest.s as of yet. i recall the incident!

  7. I was a CHP OFFICER.

    Prior to NEWHALL, the order was, "They will respect you--You have a uniform, a badge, and a gum"

    After NEWHALL, the CHP developed tactics .
    --Watch a person's moves and body langage
    --Universal COP RULE-watch the hands, have ANY person you talk to keep their hands in view.
    --Practice "Situational Awareness" Don't focus totally on one person .
    --Range was EVERY MONTH--50 --40 cal shots, 12 shotgun rounds, later 20 AR-15 rounds

  8. As I remember these four officers were using wheel guns and ran out of their first six rounds and we shot & killed during reloading their sidearms. Also CHP changed their tactics as well and switched to semiautomatics to preclude this type of event from reoccurring again.

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