October 4, 2023

“I believe I’m lifeless.”

These had been the final phrases a buddy heard John Leehey say as he lay bleeding on a mud path outdoors of Prepare dinner’s Nook in Trabuco Canyon, whereas bullets from a gunman described as a “loopy” ex-cop whizzed round him and two of his pals.

Leehey, 67-year-old city planner and panorama architect from Irvine, together with Tonya Clark, 49, of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Glen Sprowl Jr., 53, of Stanton, had been killed within the capturing rampage Wednesday on the common biker bar throughout its $8 Spaghetti Evening.

Retired Ventura Police Sgt. John Patrick Snowling, 59, who was in the course of a divorce, entered Prepare dinner’s Nook with a pair of legally registered handguns, walked as much as his spouse Marie silently, and shot her within the jaw, authorities stated. Someway, she survived.

However the capturing continued.

For extra information, see: Prepare dinner’s Nook mass capturing a horrifically widespread show of home violence

John Leehey

James O’Malley, an actual property advisor who lives a few miles from Prepare dinner’s Nook, stated Friday he went to the biker bar with Leehey to seize an inexpensive spaghetti dinner, drink a couple of beers, and take heed to stay music.

Leehey’s passions included enjoying guitar and harmonica, the blues, golf, and poker with a “little whisky in between,” O’Malley stated.

John Leehey and his pals James O’Malley, heart, and Mike Dauer (Courtesy of James O’Malley) 

O’Malley and Leehey arrived at Prepare dinner’s Nook round 6 p.m. and had been joined by buddy Eleni Christianson, an actual property land dealer. The trio settled in at an outside picnic desk on the again nook of the institution. About 20 folks sat close by

The dialog was mild and upbeat. Leehey talked about his household and poker earlier than excusing himself to get some spaghetti and the primary spherical of beers, O’Malley stated. “The night was lovely and the whole lot was nice,” he recalled.

Round 7 p.m. the whole lot modified.

Bullets started peppering the bottom close to the place Leehey, O’Malley and Christianson had been seated.

The pictures appeared to be indiscriminate and fired from a close-by parking zone on the facet of Prepare dinner’s Nook, O’Malley stated. “There was no warning,” he added. “Only a hail of gunfire. We stood up and commenced taking a look at the way to make our subsequent transfer. We didn’t know the place the gunman is likely to be.”

All of the sudden, a pregnant Prepare dinner Nook waitress, who begged for her life and was spared from Snowling, started strolling down a sloped path main from the parking zone to the outside eating space. Then there have been extra gunshots.

“Instantly we heard gunshots pinging towards the concrete constructing,” O’Malley stated. “We fled and ran for our lives.”

O’Malley took solely about 5 steps when he observed that Leehey had fallen to the bottom. “I assumed he had tripped however I didn’t see his arms cushion him,” he stated. “Then I noticed blood and he wasn’t shifting. He was flat on his face.”

Christianson tried to consolation Leehey, and, O’Malley stated, later conveyed his final phrases.

O’Malley stated he additionally noticed a person who’s a chef at Prepare dinner’s Nook mendacity close to Leehey; the chef had been shot within the left forearm, exposing the bone.

O’Malley stated he determined to run to the entrance of Prepare dinner’s Nook, believing that the constructing would offer him safety away from the outside seating space the place Snowling was nonetheless capturing.

Inside, it was lethal silent, with patrons crouching behind the bar. O’Malley made his technique to the kitchen, the place he instinctively grabbed a big frying pan for cover.

O’Malley by no means noticed Snowling however estimated he fired dozens of pictures, taking time to reload in what appeared like random goal follow.

A convoy of legislation officers shortly arrived in what O’Malley described because the “cavalry,” trying like “a Christmas parade on steroids.” All of the sudden there was extra gunfire in what gave the impression of like a shootout between the officers and Snowling.

O’Malley stated he knew it was protected to depart the kitchen when deputies walked into the bar.

“I’ve by no means had gunshots fired with the intent to kill me,” he stated. “I truthfully thought my life was over.”

O’Malley stated he’ll treasure his friendship with Leehey, whom he described as good-natured and type.

“He by no means spoke unwell of anybody,” he stated.

Leehey, who was married with grownup sons, was a widely known panorama architect with greater than 35 years of expertise. He began his personal consulting agency in October 2022 after working 5 years as Director of Planning with Costa Mesa-based JZMK Companions, stated Eric Zuziak, president of the corporate. There Leehey designed a number of communities in Dubai, Egypt, and California and a land plan for a serious resort in Egypt.

“John was very passionate in creating great communities,”  Zuziak stated “He believed in his imaginative and prescient … and would passionately promote these ideas.”

For extra information, see: 2 extra Prepare dinner’s Nook mass capturing victims ID’d as deeper image of accused killer emerges

Glen Sprowl

Sprowl and Shawn Ambrose have had many conversations throughout their lengthy motorbike highway journeys about what they’d do in the event that they encountered an lively shooter.

“Understanding Glen, he most likely ran at him to seize him,” Ambrose stated. “We talked about these eventualities. You don’t assume that’s ever going to occur.”

After Snowling shot his estranged spouse and others inside Prepare dinner’s Nook, he went outdoors and retrieved a shotgun and third handgun from his truck, witnesses stated. Ambrose stated he was advised by Sprowl’s buddy, who was there, that Sprowl adopted Snowling outdoors, telling patrons to return inside and lock the door behind them.

“I’m going to maintain this,” he advised the ladies.

Sprowl was shot as he approached Snowling, officers have stated.

“It doesn’t shock me,” Ambrose stated. “That purchased somewhat time.”

Sprowl had a troublesome exterior however an enormous coronary heart, the kind of buddy who would drop the whole lot to assist somebody in want, stated Ambrose, who runs a surf and screenprinting store in Oceanside.

The 2 had been pals for 30 years and had been on many lengthy motorbike highway journeys collectively, with one other one deliberate in only a few weeks.

Sprowl was the daddy of three kids, one 19 and a youthful son and daughter who stay in Arizona. He had plans to maneuver there to be nearer to them and begin a bike components firm, Ambrose stated.

Sprowl labored for a buddy’s environmental recycling firm. He referred to as himself a “contraptionist,” somebody who may construct or make something, Ambrose stated.

Ambrose remembers when his canine almost died a couple of years in the past and pals gathered to carry a fundraiser to assist with surgical procedure prices.

“He stated ‘how can I assist,’ no questions requested,” Ambrose recalled of Sprowl.

Sprowl was an “attention-grabbing character,” who had varied jobs by means of the years as a bouncer or touring with bands, Ambrose stated.

Although he was a “large powerful biker man” with tattoos and a protracted beard, additionally they appreciated to decorate in polo shirts and hit the golf programs, Ambrose stated. Sprowl additionally sometimes appreciated to surf.

However the most effective instances collectively had been using Harleys on lengthy stretches of highway, soaking within the sights.“It’s like a trip, a highway journey, however you’re within the surroundings,” Ambrose stated. “We had a number of plans forward of us. You develop into brothers.”

Glen Sprowl with his cat in an undated photo (Courtesy of Chris Herrick)
Glen Sprowl together with his cat in an undated picture (Courtesy of Chris Herrick) 

Sprowl was “a little bit of a rascal however he grew up properly,” stated Bob Herrick, his uncle.

He recalled how Sprowl had as soon as helped members of the family transfer.

“He may choose up a piano by himself; he was a forklift,” Herrick stated.