NEW YORK – Telemachus Orfanos, 27, was a U.S. Navy veteran with a thick beard, an easy smile, and a gladiator helmet tattoo. His friends called him “Tel.” The Greek-American was one of the victims of the shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, CA. His devastated father, Marc Orfanos, spoke to The National Herald about his son and gun violence that claimed the promising young man’s life.
With roots in Sparta and Smyrna, Orfanos said he was “crushed and very angry,” and in disbelief that his son Telemachus was killed in a shooting after he escaped last year’s similar incident in Las Vegas.
“What I know is that in the club, where my son was with his friends, a young man came in with a gun and started shooting at everyone. My son is one of the 13 who were killed. I do not know why this man went there and started shooting,” Orfanos said, who, overcome with intense emotion, launched an attack on U.S. President Donald Trump for not enacting stricter gun laws.
“I’m crushed and very angry because here in the United States weapons are everywhere and we have shootings every day. Trump could do something. He chooses not to. If he had the courage and felt some sympathy, he would act. But he does nothing.”
In last year’s shooting in Las Vegas, Telemachus was literally spared from the same circumstances. Some of his friends, however, were injured in the attack. He suffered shock. For several months, he sought treatment from a psychologist since he could not bear loud noises at all.
“It was now in the early stages that he had begun to go out again, and here comes an armed man to kill him in his own city,” the grieving father said, unable to hold back his anger.
Orfanos told TNH, that he and his wife decided on the name “Telemachus” for their son. Both loved the Odyssey, which he read to his son as a bedtime story when he was child. He even liked that his name was so historic.
“Telemachus was very outgoing, had many friends, was a tall kid, about six foot two inches (1.88 m), and served in the U.S. Navy for two years. He had a sense of humor, he was funny, and he was a very good man,” concluded Marc Orfanos, adding that “I hope that such things do not happen in Greece. I hope that Greece will have the courage to prevent these cases of violence and hatred.”
His wife, Susan Schmidt-Orfanos, the grieving mother, after learning that her son was among the victims of the shooting, told ABC News, “Here are my words: I want gun control. I don’t want prayers. I don’t want thoughts.”
She said she wants Congress to “pass gun control so no one else has a child that doesn’t come home,” the Associated Press reported.
Orfanos’ Facebook page photos show the Eagle Scout with friends at ballgames or at work. Some photos are embellished with patriotic graphics and another marks the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.