In the ultimate tragic irony, a survivor of the Las Vegas October 1, 2017 Mandalay Bay mass shooting was killed in a Thousand Oaks, California massacre that took place Wednesday night at the Borderline Bar and Grill, a popular country music venue.
Telemachus Orfanos, 27, was at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, when a shooter Stephen Paddock opened fire from Mandalay Bay onto the outdoor concert crowd. Orfanos was also at the Borderline Wednesday night, but this time, he didn’t escape the violence.
Orfanos and his wife were at the bar line-dancing with a crowd of roughly 200 people when a former Marine entered the venue, threw a smoke bomb, and opened fire. Orfanos was one of 12 people killed.
I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts. I want gun control,” Orfanos’ mother Susan told local reporters. “I hope to god nobody else sends me any more prayers. No more guns.”
Orfanos was a military veteran himself. He served in the US Navy from 2011 to 2014.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) ordered flags at half-staff as “a mark of respect and remembrance” for those involved in the Thousand Oaks shooting.
Victims ranged in age from 18 to 54, the oldest being Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Ron Helus, who rushed into the venue amid heavy gunfire. He was set to retire after 29 years on the job.
“He was willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of others,” Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said of Helus. “He ran into danger. He didn’t walk. I told his wife, he died a hero.”
Police say the shooter was 28-year-old Ian David Long. Authorities revealed that they responded to a disturbance in April at his home, and a crisis intervention team was called to the scene where a mental health specialist said the ex-Marine might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Orfanos’ father Mark said that Long “was probably as much of a victim as everybody else.” Long committed suicide after police swarmed the venue.
I’m not going to vilify this kid because he’s got parents that are grieving, too,” Mark said. “And I feel sorry for them as well. Until I find out particularly what the specifics are with this kid who did the shooting, I’m not going to be vilifying him.”
Law enforcement said a specific motive wasn’t immediately clear.
More than a year after the Las Vegas shooting killed 58 people, a motive for the gunman’s actions also isn’t known. The FBI is expected to release its full investigative report in the coming months.
Orfanos is not the first Las Vegas Mandalay Bay survivor who has died in just the year since the shooting.
A little more than two weeks after the October 1 tragedy, Dennis Carver, 53, and his wife Lorraine, 53, were killed in a car accident. Just a few short weeks later, another Las Vegas survivor, Roy McClellan, 52, was killed in a hit-and-run.