According to KCAL News, a gunman opened fire inside a popular biker bar in Orange County, California Wednesday night, killing three people and wounding five others, before he was shot and killed by deputies. The shooting occurred at Cook's Corner located at 19152 Santiago Cyn Rd, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92679, shortly after 7 p.m., according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
The gunman, who has not been identified, was believed to be a retired sergeant from the Ventura Police Department. He had 30 years of service with the department, the station reported.
The mayhem began as a domestic dispute between the gunman and his wife inside the bar. The gunman allegedly shot his wife dead, the local outlet reported. Another seven people, including the cook, were shot as well, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies shot the gunman outside the bar as he was heading to his truck, apparently to reload, according to a witness.
Four people, including the shooter and his wife, were declared dead on the scene. Six people, including five with gunshot wounds, were hospitalized, authorities said. Two of them were critically injured, while the other four were listed in stable condition. No deputies were injured during the shooting. Investigators recovered one firearm from the scene.
Locals said the historic bar, which opened in 1926, was likely packed at the time of the gunfire as patrons came for its unlimited spaghetti night and a live band.
Undersheriff Jeff Hallock described the watering hole as "a beloved part" of the community. FBI agents are helping with the investigation. The motive for the shooting is still under investigation.
In the wake of the recent shooting at Cook's Corner in Orange County, California, we spoke with gun violence attorney Bobby Thompson, Esq., to get his perspective on what victims injured or killed in bar shootings can do with a civil case against those accountable.
Darla Medina: Mr. Thompson, thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. I wanted to get your perspective on what victims injured or killed in bar shootings can do with a civil case against those accountable.
Bobby Thompson: Sure, I'm happy to help. In general, victims of gun violence can file a civil lawsuit against the person who shot them, as well as any other parties who may be liable, such as the bar owner or the gun manufacturer. The lawsuit can seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
In the case of a fatal shooting, the victims' families may be able to sue the gunman's estate, as well as the bar owner. The bar owner may be liable if they were negligent in their security practices, such as failing to have adequate security measures in place or failing to remove the gunman from the premises after he became aggressive.
The gun manufacturer may also be liable if they knew or should have known that the gun was likely to be used in a crime. However, it can be difficult to win a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer.
Darla Medina: What are some of the challenges that victims of gun violence face when trying to win a civil lawsuit?
Bobby Thompson: There are a number of challenges that victims of gun violence face when trying to win a civil lawsuit. One challenge is that the burden of proof is on the victim to prove that the other party was negligent. This can be difficult, especially if the shooting was a random act of violence. Another challenge is that gun violence cases are often very emotional, and this can make it difficult for the parties to reach a settlement.
Darla Medina: What advice would you give to victims of bar shootings who are considering filing a civil lawsuit?
Bobby Thompson: I would advise victims or their families to speak with an experienced gun violence attorney to discuss their legal options. An attorney can help the victim understand their rights and the challenges they may face in a civil lawsuit. The attorney can also help the victim gather evidence and file a lawsuit.