The retired police sergeant who opened fire at a popular biker bar in Southern California during a lively night had traveled from Ohio to confront his estranged wife, shooting her in the face before turning his gun on the crowd, authorities said. John Snowling killed three people, including his wife's dinner companion and a man who approached him as Snowling retrieved additional weapons from his truck, and injured six others, according to Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes on Thursday. He was shot by police officers minutes after the attack. The shooting occurred while a band was entertaining patrons during the bar's popular weekly spaghetti night. Snowling entered the bar, approached Marie Snowling, and immediately shot her without saying a word, according to authorities. Some customers were paralyzed while others ran as bullets flew inside the bar, before Snowling went into the parking lot and continued shooting, witnesses and authorities said. When the shots began, Mark Johnson, the keyboardist for the M Street band, hid behind a speaker with his wife, singer Debbie Johnson. "Once he started shooting, it was very indiscriminate," Mark Johnson said. Snowling, 59, was a retired police sergeant from the Ventura Police Department in Southern California. His wife, Marie Snowling, had filed for divorce in December 2022, citing irreconcilable differences. The process was ongoing, and the case was scheduled for a mandatory settlement conference in November. Married for over three decades, they have two adult children. Authorities said John Snowling traveled from Ohio, where he had been living on a 7-acre property with his dog, according to his divorce attorney, Tristan teGroen. It was unclear when he arrived in Southern California, where he still owns properties in Camarillo. There was "no whisper of domestic violence, threats, or anything of the sort from the other attorney," teGroen said. John Snowling used two weapons at the start of the shooting and then retrieved two more from his truck. The four firearms, three handguns and one shotgun, were legally acquired, according to Barnes. Authorities identified one of the deceased as 67-year-old John Leehey from Irvine, California. The other two were not named, including the woman who was having dinner with Marie Snowling. After being injured, the woman left the bar and managed to reach the highway before dying, Barnes said. The nine injured individuals were adults. Marie Snowling was conscious and speaking but remained hospitalized on Thursday, according to Barnes. Her father, William Mosby of Lake Forest, told the Orange County Register that John Snowling could not "deal with the divorce." Kenneth H.J. Henjum, Marie Snowling's attorney, said in an email that her family was in shock and requested privacy. John Snowling had worked for the Ventura Police Department, a coastal city northwest of Los Angeles, from 1986 to 2014. Ventura Police Chief Darin Schindler issued a statement expressing condolences to the families of the victims, the survivors, and the responding officers. Cook's Corner has long been a gathering place for bikers, where bands perform, open mic nights are held, or people simply enjoy a cold beer after a long motorcycle ride. It bills itself as the oldest biker bar in Southern California and is located at the intersection of two scenic roads in a hilly area with bike trails. It attracts all kinds of people, from chopper-riding bikers to avid cyclists in cycling gear and families with young children. "It's like Disneyland for bikers," said Kamran Amiri, a longtime customer of Cook's Corner. Amiri, who was there on Wednesday but left before the shooting, said the bar is "filled with very friendly people" who go there to chat over drinks, listen to music, or show off their motorcycles. Hours before the shooting, rows of motorcycles and bikes framed the gravel entrance. The M Street band had performed in Cook's Corner's outdoor area on previous occasions, but this was the first time the band played on the indoor stage, Mark and Debbie Johnson said. Two people in the crowd were celebrating birthdays, and the band promised a special song later in the night, Debbie Johnson said. But it never came. "We launched into our next song, and at some midway point of it, this man just comes in, doesn't say a word, and starts shooting," she said. Some customers ran towards a nearby hill. Mark Johnson said that once the assailant went outside, he and about 30 other people closed the doors and took shelter inside. Johnson called 911. "I had never been so happy to see dozens of patrol cars approaching," Debbie Johnson said. "We were fish in a very small barrel." Originally posted at Abogados de Accidentes