California mass shooting: Las Vegas survivor among dead

Telemachus Orfanos (27) escaped last year’s shooting only to die in one of America’s safest cities

November 8th, 2011: Survivors describe a mass shooting at a bar in the LA suburb of Thousand Oaks. 13 people were killed, including a sheriff's deputy and the suspected gunman, who was shot dead by police. Video: Reuters

 

A man who survived last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas was among the 12 people killed when a gunman opened fire in a bar in southern California on Thursday.

Telemachus Orfanos (27), a US Navy veteran, made it through the ordeal in October 2017 when a gunman opened fire at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 people, only to lose his life less than 10 minutes from his home near Thousand Oaks.

“My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home. He didn’t come home last night,” his mother Susan Schmidt-Orfanos told ABC News. “I don’t want prayers, I don’t want thoughts, I want gun control,” she said.

Hundreds of people gathered on Thursday evening to remember the dozen people shot and killed by a marine veteran at the packed Borderline Bar & Grill the night before.

On Friday President Donald Trump described the gunman responsible for the mass shooting as “a very sick puppy”.

Investigators have not commented on a motive for the rampage or whether mental illness played a role. But neighbours reported hearing frequent loud rows between gunman Ian David Long and his mother, one of them so extreme they called police in April.

Authorities at the time worried that the 28-year-old Afghanistan war veteran might have post-traumatic stress disorder but a mental health specialist concluded there were no grounds to have him involuntarily committed.

On Wednesday night, the former machine gunner, dressed all in black with his hood pulled up, opened fire with a handgun at the Borderline Bar & Grill during college night, then apparently killed himself as scores of police officers closed in.

At the White House, Mr Trump touted his efforts to fund work on PTSD among veterans. He declined to engage on questions on whether the nation needs stricter gun control laws.

Julie Hanson, who lives next door to the ranch-style home that Long shared with his mother, described him as “odd” and “disrespectful” well before he left home a decade ago, got married and enlisted in the Marines. She could often hear him yelling and cursing, but several months ago unusually loud banging and shouting prompted her husband to call authorities.

“I was concerned because I knew he had been in the military,” Tom Hanson said.

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.

“I told my wife, ‘Just be polite to him. If he talks, just acknowledge him, don’t go into conversation with him,’” Don MacLeod said. Thousand Oaks is a city of about 130,000 people about 64km from Los Angeles. It is annually listed as one of the safest cities in America. – AP