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Cook's Corner: Witnesses recount volley of gunfire at historic biker bar

M Street at Cook's Corner band recount horrifying mass shooting
M Street at Cook's Corner band recount horrifying mass shooting 03:09

Three people are dead and six more are in the hospital after a shooter opened fire at a historic biker bar in Trabuco Canyon. The suspect was also shot dead by responding officers.

The suspected gunman was identified as John Snowling, a retired Ventura Police Department sergeant, according to a spokesperson for the Orange County District Attorney's office. 

Read more: Cook's Corner: 3 killed 6 hospitalized in shooting at historic biker bar in Trabuco Canyon

Before the gunfire, witnesses said it was like a normal night where people enjoyed the music and food. 

"It was like any other normal band event," said Mark Johnson. "Nice little venue. People were there ready to party."

Mark and his wife Debbie Johnson were a couple songs in with their band, M Street at Cook's Corner, Wednesday night when they said the shooter walked through a side door, armed with two guns. He was just a few feet away from the stage.

Aerial view of Cook's Corner, hours after the shooting. KCAL News

According to the Orange County Sheriff's Department, at least 30-40 people were inside the popular restaurant and bar, Cook's Corner when a gunman opened fire.

"We just hear this loud popping," said Mark. "Is that caps? Is that fireworks? Is it balloons? Where I was, I just see this gun come out and I hear somebody saying 'Hey, she's down. She's been hit.'"

Witnesses said there were two volleys of fire with a brief pause in between, with the opening barrage being five or six shots. 

"We heard gunshots randomly going off," said Jonathan Div, who lives nearby. "And a few minutes later we heard it kind of increasing."

Div said that he and his mother were standing outside their home when the gunfire first erupted. When they heard the second volley of gunfire, they ran back inside their home. 

"We were really confused about what was going on," he said. "We were kind of scared and kind of ran back inside."

He said that all of his neighbors were out on the street, standing outside their homes wondering about what was happening inside Cook's Corner. 

A witness interviewed by KCAL News reporter Michele Gile said he was sitting outside in the picnic area with a friend when he heard the first barrage of fire. In that short span of time, someone ran up to them and said a gunman opened fire inside the bar — immediately after, more gunshots rang out. 

As the two were running from the scene, his friend was shot in the back. He later died. 

In the aftermath, the witness said that he met a pregnant, young woman who was an employee of Cook's Corner. The woman claimed she came face-to-face with the gunman.

She begged the shooter to spare her life, saying that she was 5 months pregnant. The gunman told her to get out of the bar and allowed her to leave.

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