A year apart, some country music fans face 2 mass shootings
Borderline Bar and Grill in California had become a safe haven for dozens of survivors of last year’s massacre at a Las Vegas country music festival, a place where they gathered for line dancing and drinks.
They found themselves in a terrifyingly familiar scene Wednesday night, when bullets began flying once again. This time, gunfire claimed 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,” Brendan Kelly said Thursday outside his Thousand Oaks home. “The second time around doesn’t get any easier.”
Kelly, a 22-year-old Marine, said he heard “pop, pop” 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-year-old 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 in suburban Los Angeles.
“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.”
During Wednesday’s shooting, Kelly said he threw two of his friends to the floor and covered them with his body. Then he got a look at the shooter and the terror 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.
After the shooting was over, Kelly said he and another Marine friend helped victims alongside first responders. Two of his friends were among those killed.
Chandler Gunn, 23, told The Los Angeles Times that a friend who survived the Vegas shooting works at the bar. When Gunn learned about the shooting, he rushed to Borderline.
Gunn said his friend, whose name he didn’t provide, escaped safely out the back.
“There’s people that live a whole lifetime without seeing this, and then there’s people that have seen it twice,” he said.