The future of Cook’s Corner pondered following tragic mass shooting

A memorial to the mass shooting at Cook's Corner.
Flowers and a note of support are placed next to photos at a memorial to shooting victims at Cook’s Corner in Trabuco Canyon after John Snowling, a retired Ventura police sergeant, killed three people and wounded six others there.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, Aug. 30. I’m Carol Cormaci, bringing you this week’s TimesOC newsletter with a look at the latest local news and events.

Long a fixture in Trabuco Canyon, Cook’s Corner, a much-loved biker bar and family-friendly diner, may never be the same again after having been the scene last Wednesday night of a tragic shooting that took the lives of three and injured six others.

In the unlikely case you missed the awful news, a 59-year-old retired Ventura Police Department sergeant named John Snowling arrived at Cook’s Corner at around 7 p.m. Aug. 23, carrying two handguns. He walked directly up to his estranged wife, Marie, who was enjoying herself at an $8 all-you-can-eat spaghetti night, and took aim.

Marie Snowling survived a bullet in her jaw, but the friend with whom she was dining, Tonya Clark, 49, of Scottsdale, Ariz. succumbed to the injuries she received at John Snowling’s hand. So did 67-year-old John Leehey, of Irvine, and Glen Sprowl Jr., 53, of Stanton.

According to the Los Angeles Times coverage by reporters Richard Winton, Hannah Fry, Jeremy Childs, Christian Martinez, Summer Lin, Grace Toohey, Nathan Solis and Noah Goldberg, when sheriff’s deputies arrived — within two minutes of the first 911 call — they found the shooter in the parking lot, and a gunfight ensued.


Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer said seven deputies opened fire, firing at least 75 shots, according to the reporting.

The families of those involved, the community as a whole, reeled from the news, collectively mourning the senseless losses.

Times staff writer Thomas Curwen later turned the spotlight on what it must mean to the business where this all unfolded, in his piece, “‘A place of happiness’: The colorful past and uncertain future of Cook’s Corner,” published Sunday.

For the story, Curwen interviewed regulars from various walks of life who have concerns about the future for Cook’s Corner, first established in 1933 and moved to its current location 1946; all those years serving as a place of support and comfort during some rocky times in the canyon’s storied history.

“I’m not sure how they can continue, how people can go back in there,” Josh Collins, 44, a reserve firefighter with the Orange County Fire Authority who was at the scene last Wednesday night, told Curwen. He recalled eating there regularly with his wife and young son. “You always felt safe there. It was a place of happiness.”

Coto de Caza resident Jeff Hatch was more hopeful, Curwen reports. If his intuition is right, maybe Cook’s Corner will be in business for its 100th anniversary.

“It may take a while, but the people, who have come here for a long time, will respect that what happened here was a one-off deal,” Hatch said. “Guys who ride bikes and come here for the camaraderie will always come back.”


Shohreh Dupuis, the outgoing city manager of Laguna Beach.
Laguna Beach City Manager Shohreh Dupuis and the City Council last week mutually agreed she would separate from the city after she filed a workplace claim of harrassment by one of the council members.
(Daily Pilot File Photo)

Sidestepping litigation, the Laguna Beach City Council last week agreed to a separation agreement with the city manager, Shohreh Dupuis. According to the Daily Pilot’s coverage of the decision, Dupuis and the council mutually agreed to part ways to settle a workplace claim. Dupuis, who was given the top city job in June 2021, had filed a complaint alleging that conduct of Councilman George Weiss (who did not participate in the discussion) constituted harassment and created a hostile work environment. The terms of the agreement: the city will pay Dupuis nine months of severance pay and $223,077 to settle all claims. She will retain her health insurance during those nine months. The city will also reimburse her for legal costs up to $10,000. Dupuis’ tenure as city manager was recently marked by turmoil. In February, her home was vandalized and her traffic stop for driving while using a handheld cellphone also became a point of contention for some residents, eventually leading to the release of a police officer’s body-cam.

Kim Michael Sorgente, a felon facing charges of attacking two people at a “Stop the Steal” rally and counterprotest outside Santa Ana College, is facing a warrant for his arrest for failing to appear in court in Santa Ana yesterday. Sorgente, who is representing himself in court, called in to court at 8:55 a.m. to report he was too ill to attend his scheduled preliminary hearing and when he was told he could make an appearance via phone he declined to do so, City News Service reports. Sorrente is also facing charges for participating in attempts to breach the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

It’s not your imagination, Mother Nature has turned up the heat. In Orange County, a heat advisory is expected to be in effect until 8 p.m. today for the Santa Ana Mountains and foothills and inland areas. Those areas were expected to see temperatures of up to 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

A woman in Orange tested positive for the West Nile virus, the first human case in the county this year. Orange County Health Care Agency officials made the announcement Monday. While the woman tested positive, she was not experiencing any symptoms of the mosquito-borne virus, officials said. Last year, the agency reported 11 human infections of the virus in Orange County, with two people dying.

Did you feel it? A magnitude 3.7 earthquake was reported at 1:05 a.m. yesterday about 30 miles from Dana Point, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The L.A. Times’ news brief about the minor quake was automatically generated by Quakebot, a software application developed by The Times.


A traffic collision was reported to the Newport Beach Police Department.
A traffic collision was reported to the Newport Beach Police Department at around 1:16 a.m. in the area of Pacific Coast Highway and 60th Street.
(Daily Pilot)

A man died early Sunday after being struck by a car in the area of Pacific Coast Highway and 60th Street in Newport Beach, according to police. Responding to a report of a collision between a car and a pedestrian that was logged at 1:16 a.m., police found the victim, Mark Shishja, 22, Fountain Valley, dead at the scene. The driver stayed and cooperated with investigators.

A female pedestrian was also struck down by a car in Garden Grove on Monday, according to CNS. The woman was on foot in the 8700 block of Garden Grove Boulevard when she was struck by a Lexus RX300 just before 7:25 a.m. She was taken to a hospital where she was later pronounced dead, police said. Anyone who may have seen the collision was asked to call Investigator John Yergler of the Garden Grove Police Department at (714) 741-5772.

A man was convicted yesterday of first-degree murder for shooting another man in Anaheim two years ago. Glen Ralph Johnson, 54, was found guilty of killing 43-year-old Tyrone Portis of Buena Park on Aug. 1, 2021 at Laxore Street and Orange Avenue, according to the CNS report. Witnesses told police they saw a gunman get out of a white truck, approach the victim and gun him down, before returning to his vehicle and leaving the scene. Johnson is expected to be sentenced on Sept. 28.


Broad Street Oyster Co. at the end of the Huntington Beach Pier.
Broad Street Oyster Co. is the newest restaurant to open at the end of the Huntington Beach Pier, where Ruby’s used to be.
(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

Broad Street Oyster Co. has become the latest restaurant to fill the space on the Huntington Beach Pier long occupied by Ruby’s Diner. According to this story by the Daily Pilot’s Matt Szabo, the Broad Street chain was founded in Malibu in 2019 by Christopher Tompkins and offers oysters, along with a signature lobster roll and other seafood favorites.

Guests will find a blue skylight inside Tiana’s Palace.
Guests will find a blue skylight inside Tiana’s Palace, which will open in New Orleans Square at Disneyland Park in Anaheim on Sept. 7. It’s inspired by the Walt Disney Animation Studios film “The Princess and the Frog.”
(Christian Thompson / Disneyland Resort)

Tiana’s Palace restaurant at Disneyland Park is set to open on Sept. 7 in the space formerly known as French Market Restaurant. The quick-service eatery is inspired by Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog,” which is set in New Orleans. According to TimesOC writer Sarah Mosqueda, who attended a media preview, gumbo and beignets are among the offerings. To get things just right at the new restaurant some research was in order, Mosqueda reported. “We have done several trips to New Orleans and tasted a lot of food,” said Michele Gendreau, director of food and beverage at Disneyland. “I made these guys do 18 restaurants in 2½ days,” she said, motioning to her team.


UCLA quarterback Ethan Garbers (4) throws a pass against Utah in 2021.
UCLA quarterback Ethan Garbers (4) throws a pass against Utah in Salt Lake City in October 2021. UCLA coach Chip Kelly announced Monday that the Corona del Mar High alumnus will start for the Bruins this Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
(Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

Corona del Mar grad Ethan Garbers got the nod Monday from UCLA football coach Chip Kelly to be the starting quarterback Saturday. The Bruins will face Coastal Carolina in the season opener, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at the Rose Bowl. Garbers, a redshirt junior, has been in a quarterback competition with freshman Dante Moore and Kent State transfer Collin Schlee throughout training camp. Kelly said Moore and Schlee will also see playing time Saturday, but the first quarterback out there to lead the Bruins offense will be Garbers.

Los Amigo High School in Fountain Valley christened its new home field with an exciting come-from-behind gridiron victory over San Bernardino last Thursday night. Chris Flores, playing backup quarterback, ran up the middle for a two-point conversion with 19 seconds left, giving Los Amigos the 28-27 nonleague victory. Here’s the full story.


The Union Army  heads to battle at the Huntington Beach Historical Society's Civil War Reenactment at Central Park in 2019.
The Union Army heads to battle at the Huntington Beach Historical Society’s Civil War Reenactment at Central Park in 2019. The event marks its 30th year this weekend.
(Daily Pilot File Photo)

Civil War Days returns to Huntington Beach Central Park this weekend. The event features a full schedule on both Saturday and Sunday. Battles are set for 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday. People portraying historical figures like Lincoln, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will also be present. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is set to close the event at 2:45 p.m. on Sunday. Public parking for Civil War Days is available at the Huntington Beach Central Library, 7111 Talbert Ave., while paid parking is available at the Huntington Beach Sports Center, 18100 Goldenwest St.

Foods, crafts, folk dancing and music from around the world will be featured this weekend at the International Street Fair in Orange. The fair includes ethnic streets with 42 food and alcohol booths. A handmade Arts and Crafts section will feature local artists and their crafts. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Alcohol sales end at 9 p.m. The fair is located in a four-square block area radiating out from the center of Orange Plaza, at the intersection of Chapman Avenue and Glassell Street.

Laura Frank is the featured speaker at the next presentation of the Ocean Institute‘s Distinguished Speaker Series. Frank is the assistant director and Tonga Program lead at La Jolla’s Waitt Institute. The event is set for Wednesday, Sept. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free for Ocean Institute members and students with valid ID; general admission is $10. More information can be found here.


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