Just over a week after a deadly mass shooting at a popular Orange County biker bar claimed the lives of four people, including the gunman, one of the six victims wounded during the attack is thanking those who helped save his life.
The deadly shooting unfolded on Aug. 23 when retired Ventura police sergeant John Snowling walked directly up to his wife inside Cook’s Corner in Trabuco Canyon, and, without saying a word, shot her and a friend, according to witnesses.
He continued “randomly” shooting people both inside and outside the bar before being fatally shot in a gunfire exchange with seven deputies, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said at a news conference.
The horror of that night became even clearer this week after officials at the Orange County Fire Authority released 911 calls made during the mass shooting.
“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,” the witness said.
Among the dead were 53-year-old Glen Sprowl of Stanton, 49-year-old Tonya Clark of Scottsdale and 67-year-old John Leehee of Irvine. Six others, including Mike Bertuccini, were wounded.
“He had a bullet that went through the side of his chest, punctured his lung, went through his diaphragm, knicked his liver and perforated his stomach,” the victim’s brother, Daniel Bertuccini, told KTLA.
Daniel said his brother was outside the bar helping a friend fix a taillight on his motorcycle when the gunman walked out and began firing at them.
“He felt like someone was punching him in the ribs,” Daniel explained. “But then he realized the guy was shooting at them and then he actually pushed Andy towards the ditch and said, ‘Get down, he’s shooting at us.’ My brother jumped down in the ditch as well and he collapsed right there.”
“He says he can’t breathe,” Mike’s friend can be heard telling the 911 dispatcher.
“If you can get a cloth, double it over and apply direct pressure, you’re going to really need to push on it,” the dispatcher responds.
“Hold on, the guy is still shooting!”
“Can you actually see him shooting right now?”
“Ambulance is on its way. Here’s the problem, they’re not going to come down here when there’s active gunfire. Hey, Mike, can you feel your legs? I’m half inclined to drag my buddy up there. What do you think?” Mike’s friend is heard asking the dispatcher.
With Mike bleeding profusely, his brother said that friend waved down responding deputies who were returning fire. One of them ran roughly 20 yards to an ambulance and grabbed a stretcher.
“And he rolled the gurney over to the ditch,” Daniel said. “They pulled him out and put him on that gurney, got him in the ambulance. Just as they got him in the ambulance, the shooter started shooting again and then the officers began firing back and I believe that’s when they got him. His friend saved his life. That officer who made that decision to bring that gurney over saved his life. I am so grateful. Our family is so grateful.”
So is Mike Bertuccini, who from a hospital bed, mustered the strength to say thank you.
“Thank you, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, for being there fast and the first responders and my friends for getting me on the gurney and to the hospital. Thank you so much,” Mike said.
On Friday at 11 a.m., Cook’s Corner, which has been closed since the deadly shooting, will reopen, with the bar manager saying they want to be there for the community, and they want the community to be there for them during this difficult time.
Mike is facing a long and difficult recovery. His family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the cost of his medical expenses while he receives treatment and care.