Local News

Ex-police officer John Snowling Murders Three People at Cook’s Corner

By: Jane Wilde

Culture Editor

Ex-police officer John Snowling gunned down three people and wounded six others, including his estranged wife, in a popular Orange County biker bar on Aug. 23. The former Ventura County sergeant entered Cook’s Corner with two registered firearms and shot his former wife in the jaw. He then turned and shot the friend sitting beside her, who later died in the hospital. 

Snowling entered the eastern Orange County Trabuco Canyon establishment just after 7 PM during the weekly eight-dollar spaghetti family night to carry out what appears to be a targeted shooting. After shooting Marie Snowling, the perpetrator began randomly firing dozens of bullets, then left the venue to retrieve additional firearms from his car in the parking lot. As he was en route to his vehicle, he was confronted by a man attempting to avert the attack. Snowling shot the man, who died shortly afterward. Snowling pulled out a shotgun and another firearm from his truck as Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived on the scene. Reportedly, officers arrived within two minutes of the first 911 call, and a shootout ensued with the deputies, during which officers fatally shot Snowling.

 Officials recovered the firearms used in the mass shooting, which included two pistols, a revolver, and a shotgun, all of which Snowling legally obtained.

The police identified the fatally wounded victims as Tonya Clark, 49; Glen Sprowl Jr.,53;  and John Leehey, 67. The other five wounded victims got treatment at Mission Viejo Hospital and were released, while Marie Snowling was hospitalized and recovering from the gunshot wound. Before the incident, her close friends reported that her former husband was controlling. However, complaints surrounding the divorce and any disputes have not surfaced.

In reaction to the tragic event at Cook’s Corner, California’s governor Gavin Newsom strongly urged that Californians take advantage of red flag laws, which allow victims of violence or abuse to seek a Gun Violence Restraining Order. This law would temporarily remove firearms from a person who is a threat to themselves or someone else.

Mass shootings are now becoming commonplace across the country.  According to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), there have been 479 mass shootings so far this year in the United States. GVA tracks mass shootings over the past seven years and reports that mass shootings have almost doubled from 383 in 2016 to 647 in 2022. 

Given the prevalence of mass shootings, Californians are demanding change. In response, Governor Newsom has enacted the Right to Safety amendment which changes the legal age to buy guns from 18 to 21. 

(Sources: NY Times, LA Times, CA Gov)

Categories: Local News

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