Update On Thousand Oaks Shooting
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
A community in Southern California is grieving this morning. Late Wednesday night, a gunman walked into a crowded bar in the town of Thousand Oaks. It was college country night, and the music was blaring when the shooter started firing a handgun. The first victims have been identified. There are still questions about what motivated the shooter. Here's Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean.
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GEOFF DEAN: I don't think it was random. I mean, you know, he's a resident of this area. Common sense would speculate that there's some reason he went here. He probably knew about it. But I don't think it was just - it's not like he was driving down the freeway and decided, I'm going to get off here.
MARTIN: With us now, NPR's Nate Rott, who has been reporting from Thousand Oaks. Good morning, Nate.
NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: Hey, Rachel.
MARTIN: What can you tell us about the victims of the shooting?
ROTT: We know most of their identities at this point, but we're going to hold some of them back until they've been identified by authorities here. But from those that we do know, we know that their ages range from 18 to their 30s for patrons of the bar. It's an 18-and-up bar. So tragically, some of the victims were very young. One young woman had just started her freshman year at college. She was 18.
Another was a veteran of the Marine Corps who had served in Afghanistan. And another was a deputy with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, who we've heard quite a bit about. He ran into the bar shortly after the shooting, began to engage the gunman. He died of gunshot wounds that he suffered from that at the hospital shortly after. But he's being recognized as a hero who saved many lives.
MARTIN: I mean, we grieve with the friends and family over each and every life, but there's this added level of - irony's not the right word, but there was a man in that bar who was shot and killed who actually lived through the Las Vegas shooting last year? What can you tell us about him?
ROTT: Yeah. Well, so he was one of apparently many people who had sort of used the Borderline Bar and Grill as a refuge in, you know, the year-plus since the Las Vegas shooting. That shooting in Vegas was at a country music festival. The Borderline is a Western-themed bar. A bunch of people describe to me a big cowboy hat that's lit up above its dance floor. And so apparently, a lot of people had gone there and enjoyed it. The man you're referring to, his name was Telemachus Orfanos. We actually heard from his mom, Susan Orfanos. She talked to ABC 7. Let's take a listen.
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SUSAN ORFANOS: My son was in Las Vegas with a lot of his friends, and he came home. He didn't come home last night. And I don't want prayers. I don't want thoughts. I want gun control. And I hope to God nobody else sends me any more prayers.
ROTT: It's really hard to listen to. One of our colleagues actually talked to his father, too. He said that his son, that Telemachus was a veteran. He had served in the Navy. He preferred to go by his nickname, Tel. And he also said that he loved line dancing, which is why he was at the bar.
MARTIN: That is hard to hear. What else have you been hearing from the community there, Nate? How are they dealing?
ROTT: You know, I think people are still just in shock. There were a number of vigils last night honoring the victims. There was one at a community center, another at a college. And there was a really touching procession for the sheriff's deputy when they moved his body from the hospital to a funeral home.
MARTIN: NPR's Nate Rott for us in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Thank you so much, Nate.
ROTT: Yeah. Thank you.
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