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OC bar shooter who killed 3 was an ex-law enforcement officer, sources say

The man who opened fire Wednesday night at a crowded Orange County bar, killing three people, was a former law enforcement officer who targeted his estranged wife, sources familiar with the shooting investigation tell NBC News.

The gunfire began around 7 p.m. during an evening of live music and an $8 Spaghetti Night special at the bar in southeastern Orange County’s scenic Trabuco Canyon area. Three victims were killed and six were injured, according to authorities.

The gunman was shot and killed by responding deputies within minutes of their arrival, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said.

Details about which law enforcement agencies the gunman worked for were not immediately available. The three law enforcement sources who spoke with NBC News did not immediately identify the former officer or with which agency or agencies he previously worked.

The motive for the attack is still under investigation, they said.

An update with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Of the six people injured, five suffered gunshot wounds. Two were listed in critical condition and four others were considered stable, according to a statement from the hospital.

Sheriff’s officials said no deputies were injured.

Witnesses described a terrifying series of events inside the bar off Santiago Canyon Road. A woman seated next to the shooter’s estranged wife at the bar said she watched in horror as he walked in and shot her friend. Betty Fruichantie told NBC4 she and her friend went to the Cook’s Corner bar together.

The two were seated near a stage watching a performance from a cover band when gunfire erupted.

“We were sitting there listening to the band and all of sudden, from behind us, we hear shooting. A bunch of shooting,” Fruichantie said. “I thought it was just firecrackers, she didn’t say anything. People were getting shot. People were getting shot.”

Fruichantie said the gunman then made his way toward them and began shooting at them.

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.

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said it was “disturbing to now learn that the suspect killed his wife or ex-wife during an argument. Another domestic dispute led to another mass shooting. We must do more to prevent senseless acts of gun violence and protect survivors.”


Source: NBC Los Angeles

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