Retired CHP officer Erwin Holmes hugs Elyse Taylor, daughter of fallen CHP officer Roger Gore, following a ceremony to rededicate a memorial for the four officers who lost their lives in 1970's Newhall Incident at the California Highway Patrol's Newhall offices on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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A stone memorial honoring four young California Highway Patrol officers gunned down in a deadly shootout almost 50 years ago now rests in front of the Newhall station.

On April 6, 1970, Officers George Alleyn, Walt Frago, Roger Gore and James Pence were shot and killed near present-day Magic Mountain Parkway and The Old Road.

Forty-seven years later, a stone memorial and garden commemorating their sacrifice was unveiled in a ceremony at the station.

“This is a tragedy in every sense of the word, but it is an honorable for us to be here and never forget what happened 47 years ago,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said after Wednesday’s ceremony.

Frago and Gore were two of the four CHP officers who responded to radio report of a vehicle carrying someone who had apparently brandished a weapon.

Family members of fallen CHP officer Roger Gore take in a new memorial ahead of a ceremony to rededicate a memorial for the four officers who lost their lives in 1970’s Newhall Incident at the California Highway Patrol’s Newhall offices on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

The two located and pulled over the vehicle using a traffic stop procedure near a Standard fueling station.

After the vehicle halted, passenger Jack Twinning sprung out and fired rounds at the two CHP officers.

Minutes later, Pence and Alleyn arrived to the scene, only to come under fire.

All four officers died the scene.

At Wednesday’s ceremony, widow Nikki Frago recalled doing laundry and watching the television that night.

“I saw on TV that four young officers had been shot and killed,” she said.

The then 22-year-old phoned the Newhall CHP station to offer assistance to the families impacted by the slayings and requested to speak to her husband.

“Would you please have my husband call?” she asked them. “I want to hear his voice.”

Nikki Frago would never hear his voice again.

Some time later, officers came to her home and revealed her husband was indeed killed around midnight.

“There are young men and women who go out every day to protect and serve,” she said.

“I know that is a corny thing to say, but that’s really what they do. They go out there to protect and do what they can.”

Families and relatives of fallen CHP Officers Walter Frago, Roger Gore, James Pence, Geoge Alleyn at a ceremony to rededicate a memorial for the four officers who lost their lives in 1970’s Newhall Incident at the California Highway Patrol’s Newhall offices on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

After the massacre, Davis and Twinning fled on foot. Davis stole a camper from a man he pistol whipped but was stopped and arrested after the man reported the theft.

Twinning broke into a Newhall home and held the owner hostage for hours. He committed suicide by shooting himself in the head as police stormed the residence.

Davis, who was sentenced to death but saw his sentence commuted to life in prison without parole, killed himself in Kern Valley State Prison in August 2009.

The Fragos joined the Gore and Alleyn families seated in the front three rows during the ceremony, as active and retired CHP officers, politicians and a variety of first responders dedicated an area in front of the Newhall CHP office.

The new memorial features four trees and four individual plaques with each officer’s name and service photo, all surrounding a two-ton boulder housing a memorial plaque from the original monument.

“For me to come back 47 years later and play a small role in the dedications to these officers, in completes the evolution for me,” Commissioner Farrow said.

“This serves as a reminder to all of us about what we do and how we try to keep that evil away for the communities we serve.”

Though Officer Frago’s niece Megan Bennett wasn’t alive during the incident, she still feels the significant impact her uncle made on her family and others.

“(The incident) changed the way officers handled situations,” Bennett said.

“You can learn from every tragedy and go from there. That is why this is so important, so we don’t forget.”

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Samie Gebers
Samie Gebers is currently studying broadcast journalism at College of the Canyons. She reports on the weekends as well as produces video content during the week.
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