Navy veteran Telemachus Orfanos, 27, was murdered at Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks just a year after escaping Americas worst ever mass shooting
Telemachus Orfanos, an Eagle Scout, survived the Las Vegas massacre outside Mandalay Bay only to perish in another American mass shooting in a country with too many of them – this one at a Thousand Oaks country bar.
Telemachus Orfanos: A Tribute to the Thousand Oaks Victim
A friend of Orfanos wrote on Twitter, “RIP Telemachus- my boyfriend went to highschool with him, as they both grew up in #ThousandOaks. He was also at the tragic #LasVegasShooting 😔 #BorderLine.”
In the late evening hours of November 7, 2018, a black-clad gunman who was an ex-Marine opened fire inside the crowded Thousand Oaks college bar, killing 12 people and wounding more. Telemachus Orfanos, called Tel by those who knew him, was among the victims when the dust settled.
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The shooting happened at Borderline Bar & Grill, a country music-themed restaurant in Ventura County. It was “College Country Night” at the bar, a weekly event. Witnesses described a horrific scene in which people hid in bathrooms and under a pool table and smashed windows in desperate efforts to escape. The gunman, who served in Afghanistan in the Marines, died at the scene, and a motive has not been released.
Orfanos had the misfortune of finding himself in the midst of two mass shootings. Tragically, the second one ended his life.
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On April 4, Telemachus Orfanos was tagged on Facebook and pictured in a “Six-Month Route 91 Night at Borderline” event. The man who posted that photo wrote in another post on Facebook, “6 months ago many of us learned what it really means to live. We all lost some part of us in Las Vegas that night, but we have gained so much and learned how to truly fly. We are a family, forever bonded in a way that nobody can ever take away from us.”
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Imagine miraculously surviving one horrific mass shooting, to die in another. Im sorry our country failed you Telemachus Orfanos #GunControlNow
I would think that would be appropriate given the situation. You saw that in Pittsburgh a couple weeks ago, what the Steelers went through, an unfortunate tragedy thats become too common for us in the NFL. We want to make sure we honor the victims in the right way on Sunday.
On Facebook, Orfanos remembered September 11, 2001 with a filter on his photo and the words, “17 Years Later, WE REMEMBER.” He put another filter on his photo that read, “FREEDOM” as the American flag.
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The Facebook page When Prayers Aren’t Enough also wrote that Orfanos survived the Las Vegas mass shooting. “It has been confirmed we lost a member of the Route 91 Family in last night’s shooting. Navy Veteran, Telemachus Orfanos. Thank you for your service and sacrifice,” the page wrote.
Praying comfort and healing to those affected by this senseless shooting. Thank you to the first responders who put their lives on the line to protect and serve us every day.Thousand Oaks is my home; I will do everything in my power to help those in need of support.
On his Facebook page, Orfanos wrote that he worked at “Infiniti of Thousand Oaks” and had been in the U.S. Navy. He also indicated that he had studied at Moorpark College and wrote that he went to Thousand Oaks High School. He wrote about the military on Facebook. In 2010, he wrote, “finished all my preenlistement sh*t and signed my contract.”
In 2011, he wrote, “forever young and free.” He filled his page with travels to different countries.
I hope to God no one sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns! – mother of shooting victim Telemachus Orfanos. She says he survived the #LasVegasShooting but did not survive the #ThousandOaksMassacre. @ABC7 @ABCNewsLive pic.twitter.com/UMqTY1RATK
In the wake of his death, Orfanos’s mother is advocating for gun control. She told ABC7: “I hope to God no one sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns! The station confirmed that the mother “says he survived the #LasVegasShooting but did not survive the #ThousandOaksMassacre.”
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“My son was in Las Vegas with a lot 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 sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns,” she said to the television station.
According to journalist Kyle Jorrey, of the Thousand Oaks Acorn, Orfanos was an Eagle Scout. “More heartbreak. Another #Borderline victim was a local who attended Thousand Oaks High School: Telemachus Orfanos, an Eagle Scout who worked at Borderline. Friends called him Tel. His Facebook page says he was in the Navy at some point,” Jorrey wrote on Twitter.
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Heres a look at Blake Dingman, 21. A beloved young man and baseball player who had a magnetic personality, according to a former coach from @HCSThousandOaks. He loved the game of baseball but he loved his friends and family even more. #RIP pic.twitter.com/OYA7fK9IV1
TOHS Track and Field wrote on Twitter, “I have some very sad news. Telemachus ‘Tel’ Orfanos, the son of TOHS Track and Field High Jump Coach Marc Orfanos, was killed last night in the Borderline shooting. There are no words for this tragedy. Our hearts are breaking for Marc and his family. @tohsthelancer @TOHSAthletics.”
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His father was also a Boy Scout Leader. A woman who knows the family wrote on Facebook, “For the community that I love; where I started my family, where a part of my heart will always reside. RIP Telemachus Orfanos, my boys’ Scout leader’s son. Heartbroken.”
Victims of the Thousand Oaks shooting
“Can’t believe you’re gone Tel,” wrote a friend on Facebook. “I’m gonna miss you always picking on me & trying to make me laugh when I’m feeling down.”
Telemachus’s Facebook page was filled with comments such as “Watching Godzilla after work always a good time” and “Let’s go Chargers!!” Once when he wrote that he was driving toward a dust storm, a friend commented, “Hope you have a safe trip, Tel.” In 2014, he wrote, “So apparently there is a good chance a hurricane is going to hit Hawaii before I leave o well longer vacation. I don’t have to be worried right ? LOL.”
Honoring @toaksvcso hero, Sgt. Ron Helus, who gave the ultimate sacrifice, End of Watch 11/18/18. pic.twitter.com/Ah59s5E6RF
The names of the other shooting victims were starting to be released, each as heartbreaking as the next.
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Among the first named: Justin Meek, 23, a recent graduate of California Lutheran University. President Chris Kimball said Meek “heroically saved lives in the incident.”
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Alaina Housley was a Pepperdine University student who described herself on Instagram as “kind.” Her iPhone location showed she was on the dance floor.
Cody Coffman, 22, also died, his distraught father confirmed. Cody’s dad was on television many times during the morning emotionally explaining how he was looking for his son. In a heartbreaking press conference, Cody’s dad described how his son was speaking to recruiters about joining the military. “His name was Cody Coffman. My first-born son….Oh, son, I love you so much,” the extremely emotional father said, describing himself as speechless and heartbroken.
You can read tributes to each victim, and see their photos, here. GoFundMe has confirmed that this is a verified fundraising page to help the victims and their families.
I am with Telemachus’ mom. NO MORE prayers ….enough already! What America needs is NO GUNS! Period!! You can see it is not logical to think anymore that it is people that kill people with guns and not guns killing people as NRA freaks like to preach. When you have a society that is as violent as America and have mass shootings in every calendar month of every calendar year…with shootings every few seconds on a daily basis ….that logic has NO validity. It will take only a real man in office to say that guns are illegal in America. This means you Mr. President. If you have balls, bring an end to this tragedy! Bring an end to a law and constitutional right that was written for life a quarter millenium ago!