Hundreds attended a community gathering and prayer vigil held in Lake Forest on Friday night to honor the victims killed in a mass shooting at Cook’s Corner bar on Wednesday.
The gathering was held at Saddleback Church as a caravan of motorcyclists was seen arriving at the church along with community members and loved ones to mourn the lives lost.
Three people were killed and six others were wounded during the shooting.
The victims were identified on Friday morning as:
-Tonya Clark, 49, of Scottsdale, Arizona
-John Leehey, 67, of Irvine
-Glen Sprowl Jr., 53, of Stanton
The suspected gunman, John Snowling, 59, died in a shootout with deputies on Wednesday night. Snowling was a retired Ventura police sergeant who worked for the agency for 28 years before retiring in 2014.
During the shooting, customers were enjoying the bar’s famous spaghetti night as a live band played at the popular biker bar in Trabuco Canyon.
When gunfire erupted around 7:05 p.m., witnesses recalled the chaos that broke out as patrons were screaming, running and ducking for cover.
“He had two guns in his hand,” recalled Skip Patrick, a witness. “He started shooting toward me. He just kept shooting and shooting. It sounded like he had shot over 100 rounds.”
“I was running for my life and I couldn’t get my kids and my boyfriend out of my mind,” recalled witness Jaqueline Bass. “I thought I would never see them again.”
Investigators say Snowling was armed with three handguns and a shotgun when he walked into the popular bar and restaurant after driving cross-country from Ohio where he lived.
He walked up to his estranged wife, Marie Snowling, at the bar and shot her in the face. There was apparently no discussion, argument or confrontation before Snowling started shooting, O.C. Sheriff Don Barnes said.
Snowling then shot Clark, his wife’s friend, who died from her injuries as she tried to leave the restaurant, O.C. District Attorney Todd Spitzer said. He continued to randomly shoot at patrons inside and outside the bar, and at one point, returned to his truck to retrieve the shotgun and another handgun.
Marie, who now lives in Orange County, was hospitalized in critical condition but was alert and speaking.
Deputies eventually arrived to find Snowling in the parking lot, where he opened fire and struck several patrol vehicles. Multiple deputies returned fire, killing him at the scene.
Community members, Cook’s Corner patrons and the victims’ loved ones gathered to remember the three victims and the multiple others who were injured, taking comfort in the presence of each other.
“These are our friends, these are our family,” said John Flera, a Cook’s Corner patron. ”These are the people that matter to us and to see something like this happening in our own backyard is absolutely devastating.”
“I got out unharmed and I’m very grateful for that,” Bass said tearfully. “To see everybody come together gives me strength.”