Ve­gas sur­vivor dies in bar at­tack

Vet­eran sur­vived dead­li­est shoot­ing in U.S. his­tory

Tulsa World - - Front Page - By Kath­leen Ron­ayne and Amanda Lee My­ers 27-year-old Navy

THOU­SAND OAKS, Calif. — Tel Or­fanos lived through the dead­li­est mass shoot­ing in mod­ern U.S. his­tory only to lose his life in an­other one less than 10 min­utes from his home barely a year later, a tragic co­in­ci­dence that has dev­as­tated his friends and fam­ily.

The vet­eran was among at least sev­eral sur­vivors of last year's Las Ve­gas mas­sacre who were at the Border­line Bar & Grill in Thou­sand Oaks when a gun­man stormed in and killed 12 peo­ple late Wed­nes­day. While the oth­ers be­came twotime sur­vivors, Or­fanos died.

“He sur­vived Ve­gas, where a lot more peo­ple died than this. It's just un­real,” his friend Al­iza Thomas said Fri­day. “It's not fair.”

Thomas, who has known Or­fanos since they were in high school, said her friend didn't talk much about his ex­pe­ri­ence in Ve­gas. Or­fanos liked to fo­cus on the pos­i­tive.

“He was al­ways such a happy per­son,” she said.

Or­fanos' mother, Su­san Sch­midt-Or­fanos, was shak­ing with rage and grief when she spoke about how her son was un­able to sur­vive two mass killings.

“Here are my words: I want gun con­trol,” Sch­midt-Or­fanos told The As­so­ci­ated Press. “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.”

Dani Mer­rill, who sur­vived both Ve­gas and Border­line, was among mourn­ers at a packed the­ater Thurs­day hon­or­ing Or­fanos and the oth­ers who lost their lives in the shoot­ing at the bar.

“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 ex­plained. “It's hard to sleep af­ter th­ese kinds of things. You don't know how to feel.”

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