Country music fans endure 2nd shooting barely a year apart
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.
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.