With the sound of gunfire still reverberating in the background, emergency dispatchers desperately tried to help witnesses treat the wounded during last week’s mass shooting at Cook’s Corner, a popular bar and restaurant in Orange County.
The Orange County Fire Authority released the 911 calls on Thursday.
“My buddy just got shot. We’re at Cook’s Corner. He can’t breathe,” one witness tells dispatchers.
“Who has the gun?” the dispatcher asks.
“Some old man … he was the in the bar and came out shooting at everybody. I’m sure other people are hit … Please hurry.”
Authorities said John Snowling, 59, a retired sergeant with the Ventura Police Department, walked into the Trabuco Canyon bar the evening of Aug. 23 to target his estranged wife.
He fatally shot three people, including his wife’s dining companion and a man who approached him, authorities said. Snowling then retrieved additional guns from his truck and wounded six others before he died in a shootout with deputies.
Authorities identified the victims as John Leehey, 67, of Irvine, California, Tonya Clark, 49, of Scottsdale, Arizona; and Glen Sprowl Jr., 53, of Stanton, California.
Clark was celebrating her 49th birthday at the bar.
In another 911 call, a witness who appeared to have medical training described the nature of another victim’s wounds.
“I have GSW [gunshot wound] … possible critical shot, left-hand side of his torso approximately four inches underneath his armpit,” the witness says. “I have another bystander applying pressure with a semi-clean shirt.”
“I need to get this ****ing guy out of here!”
Dispatchers stayed on the phone with witnesses as authorities arrived and exchanged fire with Snowling.
Loud gunshots, screaming and profanity permeate the 911 calls and capture not only the terror of the shooting – but also the heroism of those who focused on the safety of others instead of their own.
This mass shooting, like so many others, has devasted the community.
Cook’s Corner has historically been viewed as a biker bar, but over the years evolved into a popular family hangout.
The Aug. 23 shooting occurred on a night when patrons were enjoying $8 all-you-can-eat spaghetti as a live band played.