Alleged gunman John Snowling was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies after he turned his weapons on them, according to local officials. The incident took place on Wednesday at a bar in the Traduce Canyon in California, where Snowling reportedly shot ten people, including his estranged wife Marie. The Orange County Sheriff-Coroner confirmed the details of the incident during a press conference on Thursday.
John Snowling, 59, entered the Cook’s Corner bar at around 7pm local time on Wednesday, armed with two guns. Without engaging in any conversation, he first shot his wife Marie and her female dinner companion. Snowling then fled to the parking lot, supposedly to retrieve two more guns. However, another bystander confronted him and was also allegedly shot. It was at this point that Snowling turned his weapon on the sheriff’s deputies who had arrived at the scene. In response, the deputies opened fire, shooting Snowling more than 75 times and killing him, as reported by Sheriff-Coroner Don Barnes.
Tragically, Marie Snowling’s friend died at the scene, along with landscape architect John Leehey and another unnamed individual. The injured victims were taken to Providence Mission Hospital, where most of them were stabilized. Marie, who was shot in the jaw, was initially taken to Providence Mission Hospital and was later transferred to UCI Medical Center for further treatment.
No restraining order was in place that would have prevented Snowling from legally approaching his wife. The details of the couple’s recent divorce proceeding, which took place earlier this month, are not known to Orange County officials at this time. Notably, Snowling did not have a recorded history of domestic violence, according to Barnes.
Despite this, California Governor Gavin Newsom attributed the incident to domestic violence in a statement on Thursday. He urged Californians to utilize the state’s ‘red flag’ laws, which allow individuals such as family members, loved ones, and co-workers to seek protective orders against acquaintances who own guns and potentially have their legally obtained firearms confiscated. Newsom emphasized that “two-thirds of mass shooters in America have a history of domestic violence” and called on citizens to report any red flags they observe to save lives.
John Snowling was a former police officer who had served for 28 years in the Ventura Police Department. He had retired as a sergeant in 2014 and also worked as a licensed private investigator. Snowling’s state firearms permit had expired in 2017, and it is unknown whether he had obtained a new one.
Marie Snowling had filed for divorce in December, and a friend of the couple, William Mosby, described Snowling as a “crazy husband” who was unable to cope with the separation.
The tragic shooting incident serves as a reminder of the devastating consequences of domestic violence and the importance of recognizing and reporting red flags to prevent such acts of violence in the future.