Coun­try mu­sic fans en­dure 2nd shoot­ing barely a year apart

The Republican Herald - - NATION - BY KATH­LEEN RON­AYNE AND AMANDA LEE MY­ERS

THOU­SAND OAKS, Calif. — Barely a year af­ter sur­viv­ing a mas­sacre at a coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val in Las Ve­gas, Bren­dan Kelly found him­self in a ter­ri­fy­ingly fa­mil­iar scene.

Kelly, 22, said he was danc­ing with friends at a bar in sub­ur­ban Los An­ge­les on Wed­nes­day night when the bul­lets be­gan fly­ing. When the gun­fire was over, 12 peo­ple were dead, in­clud­ing a Navy vet­eran who had lived through the dead­li­est mass shoot­ing in mod­ern U. S. his­tory a year ago.

“I al­ready didn’t wish it on any­body to be­gin with for the first time,” Kelly said out­side his home in Thou­sand Oaks. “The sec­ond time around doesn’t get any eas­ier.”

Kelly, a Marine, said he heard “pop, pop” at Border­line Bar and Grill and in­stantly knew it was gun­fire.

“The chills go up your spine. You don’t think it’s real — again,” he said.

The mother of the 27- yearold 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.

“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.”

She said she wanted Congress “to pass gun con­trol so no one else has a child that doesn’t come home.”

Or­fanos’ fa­ther, Marc Or­fanos, told the Ven­tura County Star: “It is par­tic­u­larly ironic that af­ter sur­viv­ing the worst mass shoot­ing in mod­ern his­tory, he went on to be killed in his home­town.”

Dani Mer­rill, who sur­vived both Ve­gas and Border­line, was among mourn­ers at a packed the­ater Thurs­day hon­or­ing vic­tims of the more re­cent shoot­ing.

Af­ter the cer­e­mony, she said she’s most up­set that the blood­shed is now af­fect­ing where she lives.

“I’m su­per up­set that it hap­pened in our home, and I feel aw­ful for the fam­i­lies that have to go through this,” said Mer­rill, the ex­haus­tion ev­i­dent in her eyes.

“I didn’t sleep,” she said. “It’s hard to sleep af­ter th­ese kinds of things. You don’t know how to feel.”

Kelly, the Marine who sur­vived both shoot­ings, said that dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s shoot­ing, he threw two of his friends to the floor and cov­ered them with his body. Then he got a look at the shooter and t he t er ror un­fold­ing and de­cided they needed to es­cape.

Kelly said he dragged one woman out a back emer­gency exit and then, us­ing his belt, T- shirt and Marine train­ing, ap­plied a tourni­quet to his friend’s bleed­ing arm. Two of his friends were killed in the shoot­ing.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Bren­dan Kelly shows his Route 91 tat­too Thurs­day in Thou­sand Oaks, Calif. Kelly, a Marine who was at Border­line Bar and Grill on Wed­nes­day night, helped peo­ple get out af­ter a gun­man opened fire at the es­tab­lish­ment. Kelly also sur­vived the Las Ve­gas Route 91 Har­vest Fes­ti­val shoot­ing in 2017.

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