A retired police officer locked in lengthy divorce proceedings with his estranged wife was identified as the man who open-fired inside an Orange County biker bar, leaving four people dead and severely wounding his wife.
The bloodshed unfolded Wednesday night at Cook’s Corner in Trabuco Canyon, about 50 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, officials said.
The suspected gunman, identified as 59-year-old John Snowling, was one of the four people killed.
Snowling was a sergeant with the Ventura Police Department and worked there until his retirement in 2014, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said. The Ventura Police Department has confirmed that Snowling worked in the oceanside town from July 1986 through February 2014.
A friend of Snowling's wife, who was with her at the bar on Wednesday night, said the wife had filed for divorce against the shooter.
Bar patron Betty Fruichantie said she and the suspected shooter's wife didn't initially move when the shots were fired.
"We thought, I thought it was just firecrackers," Fruichantie told NBC Los Angeles. "She didn't say anything. People were getting shot."
She further added that she could hear bullets moving past her, on both sides.
The shooter's wife "was injured in the shooting and is not deceased," according to an Orange County Sheriff's Department statement on Thursday.
Snowling had a base salary of $98,748 in 2013, with a total pay of $127,353 in his final full year of work, according to a database of California public employee compensation records.
The Ventura Police Department pledged to assist the Orange County sheriff’s deputies in the ongoing shooting probe.
“Our hearts weigh heavy with the distressing incident at Cook’s Corner,” Chief Darin Schindler said in a statement.
“Our deepest condolences are with the families of the victims, the survivors, add the Orange County deputies who swiftly responded to the scene. This incident deeply affects us all.”
Former Sgt. Snowling also served as president of the union and worked a variety of duties for VPD, including patrol, traffic, and homeless outreach.
"He just had a very normal career, nothing really else to report," Ventura police Cmdr. Sarah Heard said.
Image source: NBC News
Edited by: Nandini Roy
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