Snowling’s ex-wife, with whom he was engaged in a divorce proceeding, was injured, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department confirmed in a tweet. Although she was not named, an obituary for his dad gives John Snowling’s wife’s name as Marie Snowling. Public records say he lived in Camarillo, California. Her condition is not clear.
Snowling was then shot and killed by responding deputies, police said in a news release.
“Our hearts weigh heavy with the distressing incident at Cook’s Corner,” shared Chief Darin Schindler in a statement posted to the Ventura Police Department’s Facebook page. “Our deepest condolences are with the families of the victims, the survivors, and the Orange County deputies who swiftly responded to the scene. This incident deeply affects us all.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. John Snowling Retired From the Ventura Police Department in 2014, Police Said
The Ventura Police Department reported details about the “tragic incident that occurred at Cook’s Corner in Orange County on Wednesday, August 23, shortly before 8:00 p.m. which involved retired Sergeant John Snowling. Reports indicate that he was shot and killed by responding deputies.”
The police noted: “Retired Sergeant John Snowling, who served at the Ventura Police Department from July 1986 through February 2014, had retired nearly a decade ago.”
They added: “The investigation is currently being led by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, with VPD’s full assistance and cooperation.”
Snowling previously worked as a reserve officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, according to a cache of a deleted LinkedIn page for him.
2. John Snowling, Who Was Described as a ‘Crazy Husband,’ Was Engaged in ‘Lengthy Divorce Proceedings’ With His Estranged Wife Marie Snowling, Who Was Injured in the Mass Shooting, Reports Say
According to NBC News, Snowling was “locked in lengthy divorce proceedings with his estranged wife, whom he wounded in the shooting.”
NBC News reported that the suspect’s wife sought a divorce last December but the proceedings were pending.
Bar patron Betty Fruichantie told NBC News that “she and the suspected shooter’s wife didn’t initially move when the shots were fired.”
The Orange County Sheriff confirmed in a tweet, “he suspect of the Trabuco Canyon shooting is confirmed as John Snowling, 59. Despite misinformation, his wife was injured in the shooting and is not deceased. We will provide additional information at the press briefing this afternoon.”
On Facebook, Marie Snowling shared a photo of John Snowling with kids and wrote that he was retired.
A friend of Marie Snowling said John Patrick Snowling was “very, very controlling,” and another friend of Marie Snowling called him a “crazy husband,” the Orange County Register reported, adding that they were married 22 years and have two adult children.
“She said he was very, very controlling and she finally got the strength to leave him and she wasn’t sure what to do,” her friend C. Cahill told the Register. “She said her kids were very supportive.”
3. John Patrick Snowling Worked as a Private Investigator & ‘Union Boss’
According to the Orange County Register, over the years Snowling “was a veteran cop reaching out to the homeless, a union boss and a private investigator.”
The newspaper reported that he worked for a local firm, but the company said it was only on a single case. Snowling helped homeless people find shelter through a “restorative policing” program, the newspaper reported.
In a news release, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department wrote, “We mourn with the Trabuco Canyon community after tonight’s tragic shooting at Cook’s Corner. Our deputies responded to reports of a shooting a little after 7 p.m. and quickly arrived. We believe deputies engaged the suspect and a deputy-involved shooting occurred.”
They noted: “Four people were found deceased at the scene, including the suspect, and six were taken to the hospital. Our investigators continue to process the scene and we will be working through the night. We are grateful to our partners are at the Orange County Fire Authority, Orange County DA’s Office and our federal partners.”
The Department added, “We ask for our community’s patience as we continue to work this investigation. Our hearts are with the family and friends of the victims. We will share more about the victims and this tragic incident as we are able.”
Two are in critical condition in addition to the four deceased, fire officials said in a news conference.
4. A Dispatcher Could Hear Shots in the Background as Deputies Arrived at the Scene to Confront John Snowling, According to the Orange County Sheriff
Don Barnes, the Orange County Sheriff, said in an initial news conference that deputies responded to multiple 911 calls of shots being fired at Cook’s Corner.
The male suspect fired four-six shots, according to the call. Two minutes later, deputies arrived at the scene, and the dispatcher could hear shots in the background, Barnes.
Deputies confronted Snowling, who was armed with a gun, Barnes said, although he did not name Snowling at that time.
He said a weapon was recovered at the scene. The suspect “may be retired law enforcement,” Barnes said in the initial news conference.
5. John Snowling Was the Son of a Korean War Veteran Who Worked for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
An obituary for Snowling’s father says that “George Louis Snowling passed away on Jan 20, 2020 at his Camarillo, CA home due to kidney failure. He was born Mar 23, 1931 in Quincy, MA to William George and Anna Snowling.”
He “entered the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and proudly served abroad the U.S.S. Currituck for 2 1/2 years. He worked in the electronics field, starting with the Raytheon Company in 1965. In 1973, he transferred to Santa Barbara, CA where he retired after 35 years. After retirement, he again served his country with the U.S Coast Guard Auxiliary for more than a dozen years,” it says.
“We thought, I thought it was just firecrackers,” Fruichantie told NBC Los Angeles. “She didn’t say anything. People were getting shot. People were getting shot.”