He Survived Vegas Shooting, Was Killed in Thousand Oaks

Country bar had become a safe haven for survivors of Vegas shooting
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 8, 2018 9:49 PM CST
He Survived Route 91, Was Killed at Borderline
Mourners embrace outside the Thousand Oaks Teen Center, where relatives and friends gathered in the aftermath of a mass shooting, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, Calif.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Borderline Bar and Grill in California had become a safe haven for dozens of survivors of last year's massacre at a Las Vegas country music festival, a place where they gathered for line dancing and drinks. They found themselves in a terrifyingly familiar scene Wednesday night, when bullets began flying once again. This time, gunfire claimed a Navy veteran who had lived through the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history a year ago, the AP reports. The mother of the 27-year-old man killed in the latest attack, Telemachus "Tel" Orfanos, said her son survived Vegas only to die inside Borderline, less than 10 minutes from his home in suburban Los Angeles. "Here are my words: I want gun control," said Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, her voice shaking with grief and rage. "I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts." Others who survived the Vegas massacre also lived through the Thousand Oaks shooting:

  • "I already didn't wish it on anybody to begin with for the first time," Brendan Kelly said Thursday outside his Thousand Oaks home. "The second time around doesn't get any easier." Kelly, a 22-year-old Marine, said he heard "pop, pop" and instantly knew it was gunfire Wednesday night. "The chills go up your spine. You don't think it's real—again," he said. Two of his friends were among those killed.
  • Chandler Gunn, 23, told the Los Angeles Times that a friend who survived the Vegas shooting works at the bar but escaped safely out the back. "There's people that live a whole lifetime without seeing this, and then there's people that have seen it twice," he said.
  • In social media posts, Molly Mauer said she was at Borderline and also survived Vegas. "I can't believe I'm saying this again. I'm alive and home safe," she said on Facebook.

In Las Vegas and Thousand Oaks, country music fans were the victims. Borderline features country music, and Wednesday was "college night" that drew many young people to the bar. The Last Vegas shooter targeted a crowd of country music fans gathered for the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Kelly said Borderline had become a safe haven for dozens of Vegas survivors: "It is our home." A few weeks after the Vegas shooting, the bar held a benefit concert for five people from the area who were killed, and now-eerie social media posts show a number of survivors holding up a "Route 91" sign inside the bar at a six-month anniversary event. (An actress lost her niece at Borderline.)

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