Christian Martinez and Hannah Fry
Los Angeles Times
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department released deputy body camera and security footage Friday showing the chaos that unfolded in August when a gunman opened fire at Cook’s Corner, a beloved local bar in Trabuco Canyon, killing three and wounding six others.
John Snowling, a retired Ventura Police Department sergeant, walked into the bar around 7 p.m. on Aug. 23 during its weekly $8 spaghetti night — a family-friendly event — armed with two handguns. He immediately walked up to his estranged wife, Marie Snowling, and shot her, authorities said. She was wounded but survived.
But Tonya Clark, 49, John Leehey, 67, and Glen Sprowl Jr., 53, were killed.
John Snowling was killed in a shootout with responding deputies.
There is no sound in the security footage released by the Sheriff’s Department. In the video, bar patrons calmly mill around a parking lot filled with motorcycles. Suddenly, people begin sprinting away from the bar. Some take cover behind motorcycles before fleeing. Snowling later appears in the frame, clutching two pistols.
Snowling aims one of his guns at the fleeing patrons and seems to fire at least one shot before running out of the frame.
In body-worn camera footage, one deputy can be seen pulling up to the scene and talking to a witness.
“Where’s he at?” the deputy asks.
“It’s a male, blue shirt, shorts. He’s in that gray pickup with the door open,” the bystander says.
“Gray pickup with the door open,” the deputy repeats before speeding ahead.
The deputy stops and exits his vehicle near other deputies, pointing out the gray truck parked near the bar.
A gunshot rings out and the deputies take cover before returning fire.
A more than five-minute firefight ensues with deputies using long rifles and pistols. At some points during the fight deputies seemed to struggle to maintain a visual on Snowling, who took cover behind a large tree and cars in the parking lot while firing at authorities. A shotgun slug from Snowling’s weapon blew a large hole in the windshield of a patrol car, the video shows.
Seven deputies fired at least 75 shots during the exchange, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said during a news conference after the shooting.
Eventually, the video shows deputies moving into the parking lot toward Snowling motionless behind a tree, its bark ripped away from gunshots.
The Orange County Fire Authority had previously released audio from 911 calls about the shooting, some of which came from victims with gunshot wounds.
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