Retired Ventura Cop Named as Gunman in Deadly Cook’s Corner Shooting

By the edhat staff

A retired Ventura Police officer has been named the gunman in a deadly shooting at Cook’s Corner in Orange County on Wednesday evening that left three dead and six others injured.

Retired Sergeant John Snowling, 59, served at the Ventura Police Department from July 1986 through February 2014 until retiring and owns a home in Camarillo.

Orange County Sheriff’s officials received a 911 call just after 7 p.m. about a shooting at Cook’s Corner, a popular biker bar and family restaurant, on Santiago Canyon Road in Trabuco Canyon.

Snowling entered the bar around 7 p.m. Wednesday during the restaurant’s weekly $8 spaghetti night that reportedly brings a big crowd, including a lot of families. He was armed with two handguns and walked up to his estranged wife and immediately shot her once then shot the woman next to her. His wife is in critical condition and the woman next to her later died, reports the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office states Snowling then started “randomly shooting” at patrons inside and outside the venue. He then returned to his vehicle in an upper parking lot when a man tried to stop him. That man was shot and later died.

Deputies arrived within two minutes of the 911 call and engaged Snowling in the parking lot where he began firing multiple rounds towards the deputies, striking police vehicles. Seven deputies on the scene returned fire, at least 75 shots, that ultimately took Snowling’s life. 

It was later discovered that Snowling had an additional handgun and a shotgun, bringing the total number of weapons to four.

One victim was identified as John Leehey, 67. The identities of the victims have yet to be released.

According to reports, Snowling’s wife Marie was a regular at the establishment and had filed for divorce in December 2022 after being estranged for two years.

Orange County Sheriff’s investigators executed a search warrant of Snowling’s home in Camarillo on Thursday morning. 

“Our hearts weigh heavy with the distressing incident at Cook’s Corner,” shared Chief Darin Schindler of the Ventura Police Department. “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.” 

Cook’s Corner is a popular biker bar located in the foothills of Trabuco Canyon, and the area is known for its large gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts. 

This is a developing story, and more updates are expected in the coming days.

[Ed Note: This article has been updated with recently released information from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.]

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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    • Oh, but BASIC, you forget YOUR OWN WORDS – “Do you think he was sane when he shot you that place? Really? Wow.” – Now, those of us who can use the English language properly would know that what you are saying is that you think he was “insane.” So now, you’ve said he’s both “insane” (he couldn’t have been sane) but at the same time he only had “mental illness” like “anxiety.” SO….. which is it? Was he insane or just mentally ill?

    • As a “doctor”, you might be interested in educating yourself further on this topic.
      Insanity and mental illness are not “completely different”. Insanity is a word that covers a state of mind which is used in colloquial speech and the legal context. In the legal context it means that a person is unaware of what they are doing to an extent that they can’t be held responsible for their crimes. A number of mental illnesses can create this state including brief psychotic disorder and schizophrenia They are, in that sense, interchangeable and the state of “insanity” is created by the mental illness.
      As a medical professional (claimed ad seriously doubtful) who works with a population that may include people experiencing things like the onset of schizophrenia or BPD, you have a duty to understand these things at least on a superficial level.
      You’re welcome!

  1. Police are now treated in a very negative light much like the returning Viet Nam soldiers. “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon” referring to police during the riots and tumultuous time post George Floyd. No one wants to be a policeman. Yet..”.who ya gonna call”????
    Maybe if they were respected as they should be , they would have less emotional problems.

    • Oh, no thank you!
      Introduced in House (01/13/2023)
      LEOSA Reform Act
      This bill broadens the authority for certain law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms across state lines.
      Specifically, the bill allows qualified active and retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms and ammunition (including magazines) in school zones; in national parks; on state, local, or private property that is open to the public; and in certain federal facilities that are open to the public.
      Further, the bill permits states to reduce the frequency with which retired law enforcement officers must meet certain qualification standards.

  2. Another shooter who lost it?
    “Jacksonville Dollar General store around 1 p.m. in a tactical vest, armed with a handgun and AR-style rifle with swastikas scrawled on it. He killed three people – two men in the store and a woman in the parking lot – before turning the gun on himself, taking his own life, Waters said. The sheriff gave the shooter’s full name as Ryan Christopher Palmeter.
    Palmeter left a manifesto the sheriff called the “diary of a madman.” He said it was an irrational document, but that the suspect knew what he was doing. Authorities have not yet released the manifesto. “This guy’s a bad guy,” Waters said.”

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