Mass Shooter at California Biker Bar First Shot His Estranged Wife

She survived the shooting, but he killed 3 others, including her friend
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 24, 2023 1:00 AM CDT
Updated Aug 25, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
4 Killed, Including Gunman, in Shooting at California Biker Bar
The Orange County sheriff's mobile command post uses the parking lot at Saddleback Church as as staging area in Lake Forest, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, after a fatal shooting at Cook's Corner in Trabuco Canyon.   (Leonard Ortiz/The Orange County Register via AP)
UPDATE Aug 25, 2023 12:00 AM CDT

The retired police sergeant who opened fire during a lively Wednesday evening at a popular Southern California biker bar had traveled from Ohio to confront his estranged wife, shooting her in the face before turning his gun on the crowd, authorities said. John Snowling killed three people, including his wife's dining companion and a man who approached him as Snowling retrieved additional guns from his truck, and wounded six others, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Thursday. He was fatally shot by deputies within minutes of the rampage. His wife, who filed for divorce in December, survived the shooting but remained hospitalized Thursday, the AP reports. Her father says Snowling, who was married to his daughter for more than 30 years and with whom she shares two grown children, couldn't "deal with the divorce."

Aug 24, 2023 1:00 AM CDT

Three people were killed and five others were wounded in a shooting Wednesday at a Southern California biker bar, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said. The gunman was also killed by deputies, the AP reports. The shooting occurred after 7pm at Cook's Corner in rural Trabuco Canyon in Orange County, a popular longtime watering hole for motorcycle riders and enthusiasts who gather for live music, open-mic nights or just a cold beer after a long ride. Deputies were on the scene two minutes after the first report of the shooting and quickly engaged in gunfire with the shooter, Orange County Sheriff's Sgt. Frank Gonzalez said.

The gunman was a retired police officer with the Ventura Police Department, department Cmdr. Mike Brown said he was told by Orange County authorities. He worked at the agency from 1986 to 2014, Brown said. Orange County authorities had not publicly confirmed details about the gunman, including his name, nor how the shooting unfolded but planned a news conference for late Wednesday. Four people, including the shooter, were pronounced dead on scene. Six others were taken to the hospital, five of them with gunshot wounds, the sheriff's department posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. Two were in critical condition, Providence Mission Hospital, a trauma center in Mission Viejo, said in a statement.

(More mass shootings stories.)

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