O.C. mass shooting gunman traveled from Ohio, targeted estranged wife, sheriff says


A retired Ventura police sergeant traveled from Ohio and targeted his estranged wife during a mass shooting at a popular Orange County bar that left three people dead, Sheriff Don Barnes detailed Thursday.

According to witnesses, John Snowling walked directly up to his wife inside Cook’s Corner, and without saying a word, shot and injured her and her female companion. He continued “randomly” shooting others both inside and outside the bar before being fatally shot while exchanging gunfire with seven deputies, Barnes said.

Two men and a woman died at the scene.

Only one of the victims, John Lahey, 67, has been identified.

Snowling, who had worked with the Ventura Police Department for 28 years before retiring in 2014, was armed with three handguns and a shotgun, Barnes said.

Authorities believed he had traveled to Southern California from Ohio before learning that his wife was at Cook’s Corner.

Witnesses described a chaotic and bloody scene as gunfire erupted both inside and outside the bar.

John Snowling
Former Ventura police Sgt. John Snowling is seen at the Pacific View Mall. (Getty Images)

Public records show Snowling lived in Camarillo but had recently moved to Ohio.

His wife, Marie Snowling, is recovering at UCI Medical Center after being shot in the jaw, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Other injured victims were taken to different hospitals in the county.

The investigation into the mass shooting continued the following morning, as detectives scoured the scene looking for clues and witnesses.


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