A Greek American was among the 13 victims of the shooting inside a crowded Southern California bar late Wednesday.
27-year old Telemachus “Tel” Orfanos and hundreds of people were inside the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks where the shooting took place.
Several people from inside the bar told TV stations that a tall man wearing all black with a hood and his face partly covered first shot at a person working the door, then opened fire, seemingly at random, at the people inside.
Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco issued a statement sharing his grief “with the families and friends of all those who are suffering from yet another senseless act of violence.”
“The bright future of these 13 people has been snuffed out like a candle, and the flame extinguished by the tears of those left behind who will forever have a void in their lives.”
Metropolitan Gerasimos revealed that Orfanos was a member of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Northridge, CA.
“Orfanos’ family has been active in the parish for many years, and Tel served as an altar boy in his youth. This young man was a veteran of the United States Navy, and was a survivor of the Route 91 massacre in Las Vegas in 2017,” the Metropolitan noted.
He was referring to the night of October 1, 2017, when a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip killing 58 people and leaving 851 injured from gunfire and the resulting panic.
His mother, Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, gave a heartbreaking interview to KABC-TV on Thursday afternoon, her anguish at another mass shooting, this one taking her oldest child, almost too painful to watch.
“My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends and he came home,” she said. “He didn’t come home last night.
“And I don’t want prayers, I don’t want thoughts, I want gun control,” Schmidt-Orfanos said, her voice breaking with the rawness of her emotions. “And I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!”
“I hope to God no one sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns!” – mother of shooting victim Telemachus Orfanos. She says he survived the #LasVegasShooting but did not survive the #ThousandOaksMassacre. @ABC7 @ABCNewsLive pic.twitter.com/UMqTY1RATK
— Veronica Miracle (@ABC7Veronica) November 8, 2018
Metropolitan Gerasimos announced that this Sunday, November 11, he will ask that all communities offer a Trisagion for the repose of the souls of those who perished, and prayers for the restoration of the health of those who were injured, and for the families and friends who are suffering emotional trauma from this horrific ordeal.
“The time is now for us to also raise our collective voices throughout this country to all civic and religious leaders that definitive and decisive steps must be taken to eradicate this kind of violence that continues to befall our nation. We must not allow this type of behavior to become commonplace; it is up to us as people of faith to act in unity to stamp out this evil,” Gerasimos added.