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3 killed, several others injured in mass shooting at California biker bar 

Authorities believe the shooter was targeting his estranged wife, who had filed a divorce against the former officer in December

Orange County Police
Orange County Police | EFE

August 24, 2023 10:21pm

Updated: August 24, 2023 10:21pm

At least three people were fatally shot and six others were wounded after a gunman opened fire inside a biker bar in California on Wednesday, authorities said. 

Officers received a 911 call reporting gunshots at Cook’s Coner in Trabuco Canyon, one of the oldest and most famous biker bars in Southern California, at around 7:04 p.m. PT, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

The gunman was killed during a shootout with responding officers at the scene. The shooter was identified as 59-year-old John Snowling, a former officer with the Ventura Police Department, according to a spokesperson with the county district attorney’s office. Police recovered at least one weapon at the scene. 

“It’s an absolutely tragic event and something that I know is probably weighing very heavy on the entire Trabuco Canyon community,” Orange County Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said. “Cook’s Corner, it’s a staple here.”

Three people were pronounced dead at the scene. Five of the victims suffered from gunshot wounds, according to Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy. Two of the patients remain in critical condition, while the others were considered stable. 

“Heartbroken to hear of another senseless mass shooting, this time in our own backyard,” Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said in a statement. “My office has received updates from the DA and Sheriff’s Department, I am continuing to watch this closely.”

Authorities believe that Snowling was targeting his estranged wife, who had filed a divorce against the former officer in December. However, the motive for the attack remains unknown. 

“We are Saddened by the news from Cooks Corner,” the band posted on its Facebook page. “Our thoughts, prayers & condolences go out to everyone in the Cooks Corner community.”

“We’ve experienced major earthquakes, forest fires, floods, recessions and other disasters,” the Cook’s Corner website reads. “We’ve gotten through all of them and came out stronger.”