April 5-6 is known as one of the deadliest days in California Highway Patrol history – when four officers were killed in shootout between two criminals.
Late in the evening of April 5, four young California Highway Patrol officers lost their lives in a 4½-minute gun battle that left four women widows and seven children without fathers. The tremor that rolled through the CHP and law enforcement throughout the nation spoke of grief for their lost comrades, the suffering of their families, of humility imposed by such a catastrophic event and the iron resolve to prevent a recurrence.
The date of April 6 is often cited, but the incident actually began shortly before midnight on April 5, and all four officers were dead by 23:59:00 that night. The incident carried over well into the next day.
In April 2006, former Sen. George Runner authored legislation that designated a portion of the Golden State Freeway (Interstate 5) between the Rye Canyon Road overcrossing and Magic Mountain Parkway as the “California Highway Patrol Officers James E. Pence, Roger D. Gore, Walter C. Frago and George M. Alleyn Memorial Highway.”
Two years later, on April 6, 2008, the California Highway Patrol, in conjunction with Caltrans and the support of the local community and law enforcement across the country, forever memorialized the sacrifice of the four fallen officers by dedicating and erecting the Highway Memorial signs with the families of the fallen officers present.
April 6, 2016, marks the 46th anniversary of the tragedy of the “Newhall Four” and their ultimate sacrifice to protect the citizens of the Santa Clarita Valley and this State. The lasting impact of this event has made law enforcement worldwide continually renew their focus on officer safety, becoming stronger and more resolute.
In the near future, with the help of Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary and the CHP Newhall Senior Volunteer Program, there are plans for revitalizing the memorial dedication located at CHP Newhall station.