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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2012 Digital Edition - Page 32
THE AYOOBFILES MAssAD AyooB New INfo oN Newhall SITuaTIon: 42 years later, the shootout that changed the face of police firearms training comes under new scrutiny. leSSon: Stories can be altered as they’re passed down over the decades, but those who ignore the lessons of history are still doomed to repeat them. On April 5, 1970, a gunfight occurred shortly before midnight in the parking lot of a restaurant and gas station in Newhall, California that would send shockwaves through law enforcement and change the face of police firearms and tactics training throughout the nation. I wrote about the Newhall Incident, sometimes called the Newhall Massacre, many years ago in these pages. That particular Ayoob Files became a chapter in my 1995 collection Ayoob Files: The Book published by Police Bookshelf (P.O. Box 122, Concord, NH 03302). In has been more than 42 years since that incident, yet new information continues to emerge to the public. For that I thank Michael Wood, about whom you’ll hear more shortly. The Incident It began when the California Highway Patrol received a phone call from a motorist about what we would now call a “road rage” incident, in which the driver of a red 1964 Pontiac had waved what appeared to be a snubnose .38 at him. The caller had fled and gotten to the first available telephone. It was broadcast to CHP officers as a gun-brandishing incident. Highway Patrolman Roger Gore, driving the black and white Dodge Polara patrol car, and his partner Walter Frago, spotted the vehicle and requested backup. The closest available CHP unit, containing Officer James Pence, Jr. at the wheel and George Alleyn in the “shotgun seat,” radioed back they were responding. The suspects saw the flashing red lights of Gore and Frago’s marked car and exited the freeway on the Henry Mayo off-ramp, suddenly pulling into a truck stop that comprised a Standard gas station and J’s Restaurant. The backup car had not yet arrived when the lawmen emerged from their vehicle, Gore taking a cover position with his .357 Colt Python drawn and leveled over the hood and engine block of the police Dodge, and Frago standing behind the “curtain of light” from their headlights with the patrol car’s Remington 870 at port arms. Gore loudly and repeatedly ordered the suspects out of the car. They did not comply. Gore moved forward toward the suspect vehicle, and Frago followed. The dominoes were beginning to fall. The two highway patrolmen had no way of knowing that Bobby Davis, in the driver’s seat, and Jack Twining in the passenger, seat were hardcore cons on parole, both of whom were stone killers who hated cops, and both of whom were armed. Gore, on the left side of the Pontiac, ordered Davis out. Davis, seemingly meek, complied and put his hands on the side of the car when Gore ordered him to do so. Gore holstered his revolver to do a pat-down frisk. As Frago approached on the right, his shotgun butt on his right hip and the muzzle in the air as he held the gun in his right hand, he reached down with his left for the door handle. Suddenly, Jack Twining swung the door open. Frago tried to bring the shotgun down into firing position, but Twining already had a 4" Smith & Wesson Highway Patrolman in his hand, and he shot the officer twice in the chest. The two .357 Magnum slugs tore through and through Walter Frago, and he instantly collapsed, dying. On the other side of the car, Roger Gore turned his attention from his suspect to the new and deadly threat, redrawing his .357. He fired one shot at his partner’s killer, which missed, and Bobby Davis was now able to whip a 2" Smith & Wesson Bodyguard revolver from his waistband and shoot Gore twice in the chest. Reports would later say Gore was killed instantly. It was then the backup car with Pence and Alleyn aboard swept into the scene. They pulled up to the left of the first patrol car, with Pence urgently broadcasting that officers needed assistance and shots were fired. Then he dropped the radio mic and drew his own Python, as Alleyn exited the vehicle from the right. Exposed to the perpetrators, Alleyn began maneuvering to use the first patrol car, on his right for cover. Continued on page 85 32 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2012