Sexist violence left four dead in Orange County on Wednesday night. A 59-year-old man opened fire at a popular biker bar in Trabuco Canyon, a town 90 kilometers southeast of Los Angeles. The shooter has been identified by authorities as John Snowling, a retired City of Ventura police officer. The target of the attack was his ex-wife, a regular customer of the restaurant. The woman survived and is hospitalized. The shooter is one of the victims of the shooting. Six people suffered gunshot wounds in the incident and were taken to hospital. Two lives are in danger.
According to the district police, the emergency services received an emergency call around 7:30 p.m. (local time). The shooter, a white man in jeans and a plaid shirt, was armed with two pistols and a shotgun. He entered the restaurant and opened fire eight times. The forces assumed that it was a mass shooting, which resulted in a massive police operation. The first uniformed officers to respond to the alarm arrived after two minutes. The officers shot Snowling, who responded to the officers and was killed in the restaurant parking lot.
Hours after the attack, dozens of squad cars were still on the news guarding the historic Cook’s Corner bar and restaurant, which opened in 1933 and was taken over by various motorcycle clubs in the 1970s. The place was full, because on Wednesdays they sell pasta dishes for less than ten dollars.
Snowling worked for the city of Ventura, nearly 2,000 kilometers northwest of the crash site. The shooter was a non-commissioned officer with the police from 1986 until his retirement in 2014. In December 2022, his wife filed for divorce.
The killer’s ex-wife, Marie Snowling, was shot in the jaw and is in critical condition. She was taken to a hospital in the city of Irvine for treatment early Wednesday morning. Another man is in serious condition after being hit in the chest.
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According to local press, two of the other four injured are musicians from the band who were playing at the site on Wednesday night when Snowling broke in. The group’s drummer and singer will leave the hospital this Thursday. The same will happen to two other people who had superficial injuries.
Hours before the shooting, dozens of guests were at Cook’s Corner for dinner. There was live music at the restaurant, which started as a charcoal-fueled burger stand and has been serving drinks since Prohibition was repealed in the United States. Tonight, before the violence disrupted daily routine, several motorcycles could be seen parked on the gravel driveway leading to the bar’s doors.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, which documents incidents like the one at the Orange County bar tonight, there were more than 20,000 victims of gun violence in the United States this summer. The database records all types of firearm-related deaths: homicides, robberies, police violence, suicides or domestic violence. At the end of August, the numbers point to 28,000 victims.
More than 46,000 Americans are killed by a bullet in the country each year, according to Giffords, a group that wants stricter gun control. Every day there are more than 116 people.
The sheer number of guns in the United States (393 million), the most heavily armed country in the world, increases the risk of death for women subjected to domestic violence. Victims of gender-based violence are five times more likely to die if their partner or ex-partner has access to a gun. Compared to other developed countries, American women are 21 times more likely to be shot by stalkers.
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