In a sign of strength and resilience, Cook’s Corner, the site of last week’s deadly mass shooting in Orange County, reopened for business on Friday.
“We feel it’s time to bring the family back together,” Cook’s Corner General Manager Rhonda Palmeri posted on the restaurant’s Facebook Page.
The popular biker bar and restaurant opened its doors to customers at 11 a.m. A small number of patrons quickly filtered in to enjoy cold beverages and good company.
“People are coming in, getting beer, playing pool…they’re starting to wake up a little,” said Carlos Noriega, one of the early customers.
Three people were killed and six others wounded when retired Ventura Police Sgt. John Snowling opened fire inside and outside the bar on Aug. 23. Snowling, who authorities say went to the bar to target his estranged wife, died in a gunbattle with Orange County sheriff’s deputies.
His wife was wounded but survived.
A memorial to the victims, 53-year-old Glen Sprowl of Stanton, 49-year-old Tonya Clark of Scottsdale and 67-year-old John Leehee of Irvine, sits outside the bar.
“Stay strong. Have faith,” another customer, Rudy Navarro, told KTLA on Friday. “This is a really great place to come and ride to and enjoy yourself on a weekend.”
Cook’s Corner bills this as a subdued, “soft” reopening with no live music acts right away.
Live music, however, will be back on Labor Day in part because many musicians reached out and wanted to help, Palmeri said.
“We want to be here for the community and we need the community here for us,” she said on Facebook.
The Cook’s Corner website has compiled a page with links for those who would like to support the families of those killed and wounded in the shooting.
Among the wounded survivors was Mike Bertuccini, who was shot in the chest and remains hospitalized.
“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,” Bertuccini said from his hospital bed.
A vigil for the victims will be held at the Library of the Canyons on Santiago Canyon Road at 7 p.m. Wednesday and will be open to the public, Palmeri said.