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.
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.
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.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Orfanos Survived the Vegas Massacre & Remembered 9/11 on His Facebook Page
Orfanos had the misfortune of finding himself in the midst of two mass shootings. Tragically, the second one ended his life.
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.”
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.
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.
2. Telemachus Orfanos Was in the U.S. Navy & His Mother Wants Gun Control
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.
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.”
“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.
3. Orfanos Was an Eagle Scout & Son of a Track & Field Coach
Telemachus Orfanos was a promising young man.
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.
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.”
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.”
4. Friends Posted Tributes to Telemachus Orfanos, With One Woman Remembering How He Always Made Her Laugh
“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.”
5. The Other Victims Included a College Student & Sheriff’s Sergeant
The names of the other shooting victims were starting to be released, each as heartbreaking as the next.
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.”
Sgt. Ron Helus died heroically trying to save others.
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.