The suspected gunman in Wednesday night’s shooting at a biker’s bar in California has been identified as retired police officer John Snowling.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Snowling, a former officer from the City of Ventura, died during a confrontation with law enforcement. Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said he couldn’t confirm whether Snowling was killed by deputies but said it was “safe to assume” so, local news station KTLA reports.
The violence broke out around 7pm at the Cook’s Corner bar. Four people, including the suspected gunman, were killed.
Six others were wounded, and two of them remain in critical condition. Witnesses have said that Snowling targeted his estranged wife Marie Snowling, who was shot during the carnage, when he carried out the attack.
Despite earlier reports that Ms Snowling had not survived, her father William Mosby told The Orange County on Thursday that she is recovering from her injuries at Providence Mission Hospital Mission Viejo.
“Her friend in the bar said she was shot in the lower jaw,” Mr Mosby told the outlet. “I’m extremely relieved, what I heard was the worst.”
Mr Mosby described Snowling as a “crazy husband” who couldn’t cope with Ms Snowling’s request for a divorce.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office said that Snwoling had been employed by the Ventura Police Department until his retirement in 2014. According to an article published in 2012, Snowling led a patrol task force within the agency.
Footage showed ATF and FBI present at the scene on Wednesday night. Survivors have recounted how they rushed out of the Cook’s Corner and sought shelter in the bushes near the bar.
A man who survived the shooting told CBS that he and another man who was injured in the arm barricaded in the kitchen until they thought it was safe to leave and get help.
The man also said he heard a woman pleading for her life, reportedly telling the shooter: “Please don’t shoot me, I’m five months pregnant.”
The suspected shooter allegedly told her: “Get out of here”
Ms Snowling’s friend Betty Fruichantie told NBC that the two were enjoying a live performance at the popular biker’s bar when the gunman entered the establishment.
“We were sitting there listening to the band and all of sudden, from behind us, we hear shooting. A bunch of shooting,” Ms Fruichantie said. “I thought it was just firecrackers, she didn’t say anything. People were getting shot. People were getting shot.”
Ms Fruichantie said that Ms Snowling had recently filed for divorce and was staying with friends.