When John Patrick Snowling walked into Cook’s Corner on Wednesday, Aug. 23, he was armed with two handguns and used one of them to shoot his estranged wife, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Thursday at a news conference.
Snowling, who was killed in an exchange with sheriff’s deputies outside the Trabuco Canyon landmark, went to his truck after the initial shootings to get two more guns: a handgun and a shotgun, Barnes said in his description of events.
The sheriff said that all four of Snowling’s guns were purchased legally.
“He did acquire all of the guns legally,” Barnes said.
For related news, see: Cook’s Corner mass shooter, a ‘crazy’ ex-cop, reportedly was targeting wife
Snowling was a sergeant in the Ventura Police Department before he retired in 2014. Barnes said two or three of the handguns were purchased “while he was a peace officer.”
Barnes listed the weapons – and when they were purchased – that Snowling brought to the scene:
• A .380 pistol, 2014; (Barnes clarified that it wasn’t known if it was purchased before or after Snowling retired.)
• A .38-caliber five-shot revolver, 1987;
• A .25-caliber pistol, 1997;
• A 12-gauge shotgun, acquired after Snowling’s retirement, in 2016.
Barnes said it wasn’t clear which two handguns Snowling took into Cook’s Corner and which one he retrieved when he returned to his truck. He did not use the shotgun until he was at the truck, though, Barnes said.
For related news, see: Who was alleged Cook’s Cosrner gunman and ex-Ventura cop John Patrick Snowling?
California biker bar mass shooter, a ‘crazy’ ex-cop, reportedly was targeting wife
Cook’s Corner adds to Orange County’s history of mass shootings, attacks
Father ‘extremely relieved’ to find daughter transported alive to hospital after mass shooting at California biker bar
Cook’s Corner, iconic biker bar with non-violent past, is scene of mass shooting
At least 9 shot at iconic California biker bar; 4 confirmed dead
Images from outside Cook’s Corner showed yellow evidence markers in several places, and Barnes said they were there for anything that might be relevant to the investigation.
“Regarding shells or shots fired, that will be determined through the investigation,” Barnes said. “It will be a combination of both rounds that he fired from his weapons and also the response as deputies fired upon him in the ensuing gunfight.”
Barnes said it was too early to know how much ammunition Snowling had used and how much he had left at the end of the firefight, but he said investigators should be able to make that determination.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer praised sheriff’s deputies for their actions to stop Snowling.
“This is exactly why we need them,” Spitzer said. “Because they stop danger, they protect us and they care. They care deeply.”