Cook's Corner in Trabuco Canyon reopens following mass shooting that killed 3

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Friday, September 1, 2023
Cook's Corner in Trabuco Canyon reopens following mass shooting
Cook's Corner in Orange County's Trabuco Canyon officially reopened Friday, with the manager saying she wants to "bring the family back together."

TRABUCO CANYON, Calif. (KABC) -- Cook's Corner, the Trabuco Canyon bar where a gunman killed three people and injured six others before being fatally shot by Orange County sheriff's deputies, reopened Friday morning, with the manager saying she wants to "bring the family back together."

In a video posted Thursday on Facebook, Cook's Corner general manager Rhonda Palmeri said she's been asked by many people when the venue will reopen following the Aug. 23 shooting.

"We feel it's time to bring the family back together," she said. "We will be opening Friday at 11 a.m. There's so much to say and I just don't know how to say a lot of it. And once again our condolences go out to everybody who was here that evening.

She said there won't be any live music over the weekend, saying she wants "people to be able to come in and relax and enjoy themselves that way." But she said a team of musicians will be performing at the bar on Monday afternoon.

"We're really looking forward to some good old fashioned music," she said, noting that many of the musicians planning to attend have played at the bar previously or even started their performing careers there.

The shooting occurred about 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at the bar in the 19100 block of Santiago Canyon Road.

Trabuco Canyon shooting victim Tonya Clark was at Cook's Corner to celebrate birthday

Tonya Clark, who was gunned down in the Cook's Corner shooting, was at the popular Orange County bar to celebrate her birthday with her boyfriend.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said the gunman -- 59-year-old retired Ventura Police Department Sgt. John Snowling -- entered the bar carrying two handguns and walked directly to his estranged wife, Marie, and shot her once.

Marie Snowling was shot in the jaw but survived. She filed for divorce from her husband late last year.

The gunman then shot the woman with whom his wife was dining, 49-year- old Tonya Clark of Scottsdale, Arizona. Clark managed to run outside the bar, where she died.

Also killed were Glen Sprowl Jr., 53, of Stanton, and John Leehey, 67, of Irvine.

John Snowling was shot and killed in a confrontation with sheriff's deputies.

In addition to Marie Snowling, five other people were injured in the shooting, including some members of M Street, the band that was performing that night.

Some people who have never visited Cook's Corner said that isn't going to stop them from showing up to help the community heal.

"What's important is how we support each other," said resident Paul Brown. "These people do a lot of good for the community, and in general, and it's important to support that. It's great to see that people are getting out and communing together there in such a way. It's not my lifestyle, but bless them for what they like to do and how they do it."

Meanwhile, a memorial outside the restaurant honoring the three victims continues to grow. Ann Marie Jensen decided she was going to visit the bar again on Friday and reflected on the horror and chaos she witnessed on the night of the shooting.

"I was only here for about 10 minutes when all hell broke loose," Jensen said, adding it wasn't easy coming back to the scene. "I actually parked my car in the same spot that it was parked in. My car was parked next to the shooter. He was in it when I got here and I didn't know that."

"It's just evil. You don't understand why," Jensen exclaimed. "That's why I'm here. That's what she told me to come down. Just being amongst friends and maybe other people that are going through what I'm going through will be helpful."

City News Service contributed to this report.