The Thousand Oaks shooting victims: Heartbreaking stories emerge about the 12 lives lost

The Thousand Oaks shooting victims: Heartbreaking stories emerge about the 12 lives lost

California bar gunman went from a Marine to living with mom

Distraught mother makes an emotional plea after her son is killed at Californias Borderline Bar & Grill.

A California man who escaped the mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival in October 2017 was one of the 12 people murdered a little more than a year later in another mass shooting at a country music venue.

“I’m not gonna vilify this kid because hes got parents that are grieving, too,” Mark Orfanos 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 gonna be vilifying him.”

Video: Video filmed inside Thousand Oaks bar during shooting

Telemachus Orfanos was at Borderline Bar & Grill, a Thousand Oaks establishment packed Wednesday for "college country night," when former Marine and Afghanistan war veteran Ian David Long entered the bar, deployed a smoke device and, without a word, began gunning down patrons.

Telemachus Orfanos loved to go to the popular Western-style bar and go line dancing. He was among more than 100 people inside the venue when a gunman dressed all in black opened fire around 11:15 p.m., killing 12 people and injuring a dozen others. 

Orfanos, 27, was a military veteran, too, having served in the U.S. Navy from 2011 to 2014. He moved back to California to stay with his parents after he finished his service and, at the time of Wednesday's shooting, he was working for a car dealership.

“I dont want prayers. I dont want thoughts,” Susan Schmidt-Orfanos said, according to The Associated Press. “I want those bastards in Congress — they need to pass gun control so no one else has a child that doesnt come home.”

Video: 1 October survivors also at bar during Thousand Oaks shooting

On Oct. 1, 2017, Orfanos was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas when a gunman perched inside a Mandalay Bay hotel room overlooking the concert venue rained down a hail of gunfire on the helpless hundreds below. Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more before he killed himself. Even 13 months later, investigators have yet to definitively detail a motive for the massacre.

Less than 24 hours after a mass shooting at a bar killed 12 people, the community of Thousand Oaks, California, came together to remember those who lost their lives and offer hope to grieving families.

Orfanos made it out alive that night, and, on Thursday morning, his mother, Susan Schmidt-Orfanos was hoping her son had been lucky again.

Tels father Mark said the shooter — a former military machine gunner who mental health specialists interviewed earlier this year — “was probably as much of a victim as anybody else.”

Telemachus Orfanos, a Las Vegas massacre surivor, who was killed in Wednesday nights shooting at a California bar. (Facebook)

Orfanos, who went by Tel and served in the Navy from 2011-2014, moved back in with his parents after his time in the service. He was working at the Infiniti car dealership in Thousand Oaks.

“I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts,” she told reporters. “I want those b——– in Congress — they need to pass gun control so no one else has a child that doesn't come home.”

Governor-elect Gavin Newsom lamented the violence during a public appearance Thursday, the Democrat's first since winning his election Tuesday.

Dean identified the killer as Ian David Long, a 28-year-old Marine veteran who lived in the neighboring town of Newbury Park and had multiple minor run-ins with law enforcement. Police had been called to his home in April when he was acting angry and irrational. He was also involved in traffic accidents and was attacked at a different bar in Thousand Oaks.

“It's a gun culture,” he said. “You can't go to a bar or nightclub? You can't go to church or synagogue? It's insane is the only way to describe it. The normalization, that's the only way I can describe it. It's become normalized.”

That sheriffs department is mourning Deans colleague and friend, Sheriffs Sgt. Ron Helus, who was killed after he ran into the Borderline Bar & Grill to confront the gunman. Dean got choked up while talking about Helus, who was only a few years from retirement himself, and he commended the fallen officers character and valor.

Orfanos’ father, Mark Orfanos, said the shooter — who officials indicated may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder —  “was probably as much of a victim as everybody else.”

The county sheriff said Long used a Glock 21, a .45-caliber firearm designed to hold 10 rounds plus one in the chamber. But Dean said Long had an extended magazine, and it wasnt immediately clear how many rounds he had. He said the gun had been purchased legally, but the ATF is looking into when and where it was purchased.

“I’m not gonna vilify this kid because he's got parents that are grieving, too,” Mark Orfanos 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 gonna be vilifying him.”

Its lost a hero. Its lost a great human being. Its part of the loss of the 11 other victims that are in there. Its all part of the suffering that were all going to go through as family members and parents and brothers and sisters on this tragic, senseless loss of life.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Ian David Long began his adult life by enlisting in the Marines and getting married. Years after a divorce and a discharge and months after shouting brought a mental health expert to his door, Long killed 12 people at a country music bar outside Los Angeles.

Video: Dozen killed in California bar shooting

Long, 28, was a former military machine gunner who apparently killed himself after the Wednesday night attack in Thousand Oaks, the quiet suburb where he lived with his mother.

"Our hearts are broken," the couple said in a joint statement. "We just learned that our niece Alaina was one of the victims of last night’s shooting at Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks. Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner. We thank everyone for your prayers and ask for privacy at this time."

Video: Dozen killed in California bar shooting

Neighbors said Thursday they would hear loud, aggressive fights between the two. Authorities said they visited that ranch-style house only once, in April, after a neighbor reported yelling and crashing sounds.

“Dan’s life was dedicated to serving others, during his military career and beyond,” said John Pinter, executive director of Team RWB. “We offer our deepest condolences to the Manrique family and ask that our Eagles around the world join us in keeping all those impacted by this tragedy in your thoughts and prayers.”

Deputies found Long “was somewhat irate, acting a little irrationally” and called in a mental health specialist, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said. That specialist assessed Long but concluded he couldnt be involuntarily committed for psychiatric observation.

The attack on the bar – a college favorite that was hosting a country music event – was the nation's deadliest shooting 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 mental health experts out there cleared him that day,” Dean told reporters Thursday, though they were concerned he might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of his military service.

Helus, a veteran of 29 years, and a patrolman entered the bar after hearing gunshots. When they went through the front door, Helus was struck multiple times by gunfire. The patrolman rescued Helus from the line of gunfire and he was taken to a local hospital, where he died early Thursday.

Officer, art student, veteran: the victims of the California bar shooting

“Obviously he had something going on in his head that would cause him to do something like this,” Dean said.

"Ron was a hardworking, dedicated sheriff sergeant," Dean said while holding back tears. "He was totally committed. He gave his all. And tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero because he went in to save lives. To save other people."

A next-door neighbor said he called authorities about six months ago when he heard loud banging and shouting at Longs home.

“I was concerned because I knew he had been in the military,” neighbor Tom Hanson said Thursday, as federal and local law enforcement officers searched Longs house, where an American flag flew over the garage.

Longs only other contact with authorities came after a traffic collision and after he alleged he was the victim of a violent encounter in 2015 at another bar in Thousand Oaks, the sheriff said.

Long enlisted in the Marines at 18 and was married as a 19-year-old in Honolulu in June 2009, according to military and court records.

Twelve people were killed in the Borderline carnage, including a sheriffs deputy described as a “hero.” The gunman was found inside, dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

His military service lasted nearly five years, and he was honorably discharged with the rank of corporal in 2013, the Pentagon said. He was part of the infantry, responsible for hauling and shooting machine guns.

Telemachus “Tel” Orfanos lost his life in the Borderline Bar and Grill, less than 10 minutes from his home.

Hundreds line up to donate blood after California bar shooting

During his service, Longs marriage fell apart. He and his wife separated in June 2011, while he was deployed on a seven-month tour in Afghanistan. The couple cited irreconcilable differences in divorce papers filed in May 2013, two months after Long left the Marines.

Telemachus Orfanos was a U.S. Navy veteran with a thick beard, an easy smile and a gladiator helmet tattoo.

Later, he enrolled at nearby California State University, Northridge, last attending in 2016, the school said in a statement.

More recently he was living in a home where neighbors said they could hear frequent, aggressive shouting between Long and his mother, especially over the last year.

About 18 months ago, Don and Effie MacLeod heard “an awful argument” and what he believes was a gunshot from the Longs property. Don MacLeod said he did not call police but avoided speaking with Ian Long.

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“I told my wife, Just be polite to him. If he talks, just acknowledge him, dont go into conversation with him,” Don MacLeod said Thursday.

Rams plan moment of silence for Thousand Oaks shooting victims

Sparse pictures on social media showed a happy Long family. His mother, Colleen, posted Facebook photos of her son in his military uniform in 2010 and 2011.

“My Son is home, well sort of, back in Hawaii, soon to be in Cali come January, hooray!” she wrote on Dec. 14, 2012.

Another photo from 2014 shows Ian Long with his arm draped around his mother in front of Dodger Stadium. The two were wearing Dodgers T-shirts and smiles.

Authorities havent identified what motivated Long to open fire during college night at Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, around 40 miles (64 kilometers) from downtown Los Angeles. The city of about 130,000 people is consistently near the top of lists ranking the safest places in California.

The dead included 11 people inside the bar and a veteran sheriffs sergeant who was the first officer through the door.

The Marine Corps said Long earned several awards, including a Combat Action Ribbon and a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

Pritchard reported from Los Angeles. Contributing were Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland; Tami Abdollah and Lolita Baldor in Washington; Alina Hartounian in Phoenix; and Reese Dunklin in Dallas.


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