Las Vegas shooting survivor died in the Thousand Oaks shooting
Last year, Telemachus Orfanos survived the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the worst in United States history. A gunman opened fire on the crowd at the Route 91 country music festival, shooting round after round from his hotel high-rise. The suspect, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, killed 58 people, then took his own life.
Multiple survivors of the Vegas massacre were at the Borderline Bar & Grill on Wednesday night, when another mass shooting occurred. Borderline is a country dance hall and live music venue located in Thousand Oaks, California, about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The bar was hosting a "College Country Night" when a gunman entered and killed 12 people. The victims included Sheriff's Sergeant Ron Helus and Telemachus Orfanos, 27, a Vegas shooting survivor.
Telemachus, a US Navy Veteran, lost his life at a bar located just ten minutes from where he lived. His mother, Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, spoke to ABC7, shaking with grief and rage. She said, "My son was in Las Vegas with one of his friends and he came home. 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 more prayers. I want gun control. No. More. Guns."
"It's particularly ironic that after surviving the worst mass shooting in modern history, he went on to be killed in his hometown," his father, Marc, told the Ventura County Star. Telemachus was godfather to Gregory Krisilas's daughter, and Gregory told USA Today that Tel was quick to help others. "He survived the Vegas massacre last year where he spent the whole night carrying injured and assisting first responders," stated Gregory. "There are too many people with guns that shouldn't have them."
The suspect in Wednesday's attack was identified as 28-year-old Ian David Long. Long was a US Marine Corps veteran with suspected post-traumatic stress disorder and a history of mental health issues. Reportedly he was cleared by a mental health specialist after an incident with police last year. Officials say he served in Afghanistan from November 2010 to June 2011. The gunman used a legally purchased 45 caliber Glock, with extended magazine, to commit the massacre, and was found dead at the scene.
Nicholas Champion survived both mass shootings, and explained to WPRI 12 that their community is a family. "I was at the Las Vegas Route 91 mass shooting, as well as probably 50 or 60 others who were in the building at the same time as me tonight," said Nicholas. "It's a big thing for us, we all are a big family, and unfortunately this family got hit twice."
Another member of the family, 22-year-old Brendan Kelly, told ABC7 that this shooting hits too close to home. "Borderline was our safe space," said Brendan. "Our home for the probably 30 or 45 of us who are all from the greater Ventura County area who were in Vegas. That was our place where we went to the following week, three nights in a row just so we could be with each other." When asked how he was able to survive two mass shootings, Brendan said, "Only thing I can attribute it to is God."