Two more people killed in a shooting rampage at a Trabuco Canyon bar were identified on Friday, as a clearer picture emerged of the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of the gunman who authorities say critically injured his wife with a bullet to the face.
Tonya Clark, 49, of Scottsdale, Arizona and Glen Sprowl Jr., 53, of Stanton were killed when retired Ventura Police Department Sgt. John Snowling marched into the Cook’s Corner biker bar just past 7 p.m. Wednesday and without word opened fire on his wife and others, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said.
John Leehey, 67, an urban planner and landscape architect from Irvine, was earlier identified as one of the three killed. Six people were injured and taken to hospitals, three were released as of Friday.
Snowling died in a hail of police bullets after pulling a 12-gauge shotgun on deputies. His wife, Marie Snowling — who sued for divorce in December — is recovering from her wound, her adult son, Patrick, at her side.
Those who know the Snowlings said Friday that Marie left the family home in Camarillo in an attempt to get out from under her husband’s thumb. When it came to Marie, they said, John Snowling ran hot and cold.
“He would be nice to her one minute and the next he would be so mean,” said Mary Talian, who lives near Marie at a mobile home park in Orange. “He would always insult her and never compliment her. You would always hear him say that she had too many wrinkles and in turn, she would never feel good about herself.”
Then John Snowling, who moved to Ohio, would show up during their pending divorce with gifts.
“All of a sudden, recently, he bought her a car and a motorcycle to get her back like he was all nice all of a sudden,” Talian said. “I truly think he was bipolar.”
Their relationship destroyed Marie Snowling’s self-confidence and devastated her spirit, especially after he took Cleo, the family boxer.
“She loved that dog. He took the dog across the country recently and they have been fighting about that. It has been gone for a couple of months and he just won’t give it back,” Talian said. “She would get sick from (John), and I mean literally. She would have stomach problems. She wouldn’t eat.”
Especially aggravating was that John Snowling appeared to be a loner, who let his home deteriorate, leaving projects half-done, said Talian and others.
“He always wanted to be by himself in day-to-day life and never wanted to be bothered. She was lonely,” Talian said.
But Marie blossomed in the separation. She was not involved with anyone romantically, her friend said, but loved to go to Cook’s Corner and listen to live music, especially on $8 spaghetti night.
“She was like a talent agent. She would find bands that she liked and would post them all over social media and give them shout-outs. It was the sweetest,” Talian said. She said the couple put their home up for sale in Camarillo.
James Goldsmith lived near the Snowlings for more than 20 years. Goldsmith remembered John as “standoffish” while Marie was lively and active, a swimmer and a skier who walked the dog every day.
While the Snowlings had a backyard pool, John had let it fall into disrepair, forcing Marie to swim at the YMCA, Goldsmith said. Snowling’s yard became an ocean of weeds.
Goldsmith said he never saw any anger or violence on the part of John Snowling, nothing that would indicate he would gun anyone down.
“I think (Marie) reached a point where she saw life passing her by,” he said. “I think she made a decision to do something with her life … she had a lot of friends who she would spend time with and that was an annoyance to him.”
Lately, John Snowling was trying to rekindle their relationship, but Marie rebuffed him, Goldsmith said.
Records show Marie Snowling separated from John in 2020 after nearly 22 years of marriage and filed for divorce in December 2022. William Mosby, who said he was like a father to Marie, described John Snowling as a “crazy husband” who couldn’t deal with the divorce.
He wordlessly shot Marie and randomly shot eight others, three fatally, before walking out to his truck in the upper parking lot to grab another handgun and a shotgun, which were also legally registered, Barnes said at a Thursday afternoon news conference.
During the initial shots, a pregnant waitress begged for her life and Snowling told her to leave, according to a GoFundMe page set up by her sister-in-law. The waitress could not be reached for comment.
While walking to his truck, one of the victims, a man, confronted Snowling and was shot, Barnes said. It subsequently became clear he was referring to Sprowl.
Deputies encountered Snowling outside and, after he fired at them from a shotgun, seven deputies shot and killed him, Barnes said. At least one of Snowling’s rounds hit a sheriff’s SUV. In all, 75 casings were found.
Among those killed was Leehey, a well-respected architect with 35 years of experience whose work included planning and management of master-planned communities, including Ladera Ranch in South Orange County.
Also dead at the scene was Tonya Clark, who was at Cook’s Corner to celebrate her 49th birthday.
Clark was listed as living in Scottsdale, AZ, but a friend said she was actually staying with a roommate in Rancho Santa Margarita. Clark’s friend, Laura England, said she was a devoted single mother of a teenage son.
In a moment of heroism, Glen Sprowl was killed.
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Known to his family as “Bobby,” he was “a bit of a rascal” as a child but grew up well, said his uncle, Bob Herrick. Sprowl worked as a truck driver and previously as a bouncer, his physical strength so great that he could lift a piano, Herrick said.
And with his experience warding off troublemakers, Sprowl confronted the gunman outside Cook’s Corner, trying to save lives before losing his own.
Of the six other people who suffered gunshot wounds, two were members of the M Street Band, who were performing at the bar. Another was believed to be a cook.
More than 70 Orange County sheriff’s vehicles and 100 deputies responded to Cook’s Corner after getting the initial call at 7:04 p.m., Barnes said. Two minutes later, they encountered Snowling and by 7:08 p.m., deputies had shot him.
The melee rocked the Trabuco Canyon community. Zeke Rich, an engineer and motorcycle rider, called Cook’s Corner “neutral ground” where anyone from any background was welcome.
The bar, self-touted as one of the most famous in Southern California, sits about three miles from Saddleback Church in Lake Forest.
Bikers who frequent the bar said they are planning a memorial, but details, including a date and time, were not yet determined on Friday.