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First victim ID'd in Orange County bar shooting

Police Thursday identified one of three people killed by a gunman during a mass shooting at a Trabuco Canyon biker bar and restaurant.

Irvine resident John Leehey, 67, was shot dead along with two others Wednesday night by a former police officer who was targeting his estranged wife, Orange County Sheriff’s Department Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said. The other two victims have not been identified.

Six other people were injured in the massacre at Cook’s Corner bar, including five who were shot. As of Thursday morning, two patients remained in critical condition. One of the most seriously injured patients, identified only as a man, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest. Another critical patient was shot in the jaw, according to hospital officials.

Four other patients suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The gunman, whom the Orange County District Attorney’s Office identified as 59-year-old John Snowling, was a sergeant with the Ventura Police Department, where he worked until his retirement in 2014. Sheriff’s deputies shot him dead after he fired upon them when they responded to the shooting, authorities said. No deputies were injured during the exchange of gunfire.

A witness told NBC4 that the shooter and his wife were going through a divorce, though OCSD Undersheriff Jeff Hallock said it was too early to tell whether the shooting stemmed from a domestic dispute.

Ventura County Superior Court records show that Snowling’s estranged wife filed for divorce Dec. 21.

The witness, Betty Fruichantie, said she was sitting next to the wife when the gunman used two guns to shoot at his spouse multiple times. Hallock said detectives found at least one weapon at the scene.

According to Fruichantie, her friend had filed for divorce from the gunman and was staying with friends. He was unhappy with the estrangement, which is why he targeted the woman in the shooting, she said.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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