TELEMACHUS Orfanos, known to his friends as Tel, was lucky to survive America’s worst mass shooting in November 2017 when a gunman opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas.
But last night, as Tel was sharing a drink with friends at Borderline Bar in the California town of Thousand Oaks, he became involved in another mass shooting — and this time, the gunman would claim his life.
Tel graduated from Thousand Oaks High School in 2009 before joining the Navy for a number of years and eventually returning to his home town.
Speaking to reporters after hearing of her son’s death, a heartbroken Susan Schmidt-Orfanos called for gun control.
“My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home,” she said.
“He didn’t come home last night and I don’t want prayers, I don’t want thoughts. I want gun control and I hope to god nobody else sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns.”
The bloodshed was the latest in what seems to be a never-ending string of mass shootings that are happening with terrifying frequency across the United States.
It was the nation’s deadliest such attack since 17 students and teachers were killed at a Parkland, Florida, high school nine months ago.
It also came less than two weeks after a gunman massacred 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
The Borderline Bar shooting left 12 dead, including the police officer who responded to first reports.
Using a smoke bomb and a handgun, the hooded Marine combat veteran dressed all in black opened fire during college night at the country music bar in Southern California, killing 12 people and sending hundreds fleeing in terror before apparently taking his own life, authorities said.
The killer was identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long, a former machine gunner and veteran of the war in Afghanistan who was interviewed by police at his home last spring after an episode of agitated behaviour that they were told might be post-traumatic stress disorder.
Screaming in fear, patrons rushed for the exits, dived under tables and used barstools to smash second-floor windows and jump to safety as gunfire reverberated through the Borderline Bar & Grill, a hangout popular with students from nearby California Lutheran University.
The dead included 11 people inside the bar and a veteran sheriff’s sergeant who was the first officer inside the door, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.
“It’s a horrific scene in there,” Dean said in the parking lot. “There’s blood everywhere.”
— With Wires
Originally published as Vegas massacre survivor killed a year later