Gunfire at a popular Orange County biker bar killed three people and wounded several others, and the gunman — believed to be a retired law enforcement officer — was fatally shot by deputies, authorities said.
Hours after the shooting Wednesday evening at Cook’s Corner, in Orange County’s rural Trabuco Canyon, authorities said at a news conference that they were still gathering information and interviewing witnesses.
Authorities arrived within two minutes of the first report of a shooting, and the gunman was also soon dead, Orange County Sheriff’s Sgt. Frank Gonzalez said.
Dozens of patrol cars and ambulances swarmed the bar. Three other people and the gunman were pronounced dead at the scene.
Six others were taken to the hospital, five of them with gunshot wounds, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department posted on social media. Two were in critical condition, according to a statement from Providence Mission Hospital in nearby Mission Viejo.
At the news conference, Orange County Undersheriff Jeff Hallock did not provide details about the gunman or how the shooting unfolded.
The gunman was a retired officer with the Ventura Police Department, Cmdr. Mike Brown said the department was told by Orange County authorities, according to the Ventura County Star newspaper. He worked at the agency from 1986 to 2014, Brown said.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom was monitoring the shooting “and coordinating with local officials as more details become available,” his office tweeted.
Cook’s Corner has long been a place for motorcyclists to gather for live music, open-mic nights or just a cold beer after a long ride. It calls itself the oldest motorcycle bar in Southern California and hosts a regular Wednesday spaghetti night, with a band.
Hours before the shooting, rows of motorcycles and bikes framed the gravel entrance where plaques describe the bar’s history. It has become known as a community gathering spot for a wide range of people.
“We’ve experienced major earthquakes, forest fires, floods, recessions and other disasters. We’ve gotten through all of them and came out stronger. Ride down and check us out,” the bar says on its website.