Four California Highway Patrol officers are killed in a shootout (4/7/70)

The Newhall incident, also called the Newhall massacre, was a shootout on April 5–6, 1970, in the Newhall unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, California, between two heavily armed criminals and four officers of the California Highway Patrol (CHP). In less than 5 minutes, the four CHP officers were killed in what became the deadliest day in the history of California law enforcement.[1]

At approximately 11:55p.m. (UTC-8) on April 5, CHP officers Walt Frago and Roger Gore conducted a traffic stop of Bobby Davis and Jack Twinning in conjunction with an incident reported to the CHP minutes earlier. After initially cooperating with the officers, Twinning and Davis opened fire and killed both of them. Moments later, Officers George Alleyn and James Pence arrived on the scene and engaged Twinning and Davis in a shootout. A passerby tried to help by firing with an officer’s weapon, but the three were outgunned. Both Alleyn and Pence suffered fatal injuries; the passerby ran out of ammunition and took cover in a ditch. After two CHP patrol cars arrived on the scene, the lone officer inside briefly exchanged gunfire with the perpetrators, but they fled the scene.

Over three hours later, after stealing a vehicle, Davis attempted to flee the area; however, he was spotted by police and arrested. Meanwhile, Twinning broke into a house and took an occupant hostage. The house was surrounded by deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and at approximately 9:00 a.m., Twinning released the hostage; he died by suicide as the deputies entered the house. Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in 1973; he killed himself at Kern Valley State Prison in 2009.

The Newhall incident resulted in a number of changes at the CHP, including procedural changes for arresting high-risk suspects and standardization of firearms and firearms training used across the department.