Susan Orfanos, the mother of 27-year-old Telemachus Orfanos who was killed in Wednesday's mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, after surviving last year's shooting in Las Vegas, said in a recent interview that she wants no more thoughts and prayers.
"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 sends me anymore prayers. I want gun control. No more guns," the grieving mother told ABC 13.
Telemachus was one of 12 people killed after gunman Ian David Long, 28, entered the Borderline Bar and Grill, a country western bar 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles, deployed a smoke device and opened fire on the crowd, according to USA Today. The 2009 Thousand Oaks High School graduate who served 2 1/2 years in the U.S. Navy was a survivor of the massacre at the Route 91 music festival last year, where 58 people were killed and nearly 500 others were wounded or injured.
"It is particularly ironic that after surviving the worst mass shooting in modern history, he went on to be killed in his hometown," Marc Orfanos, the victim's father, said.
Pastor Shawn Thornton of Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village told ABC 2 that between 20 and 30 members were inside Borderline Bar and Grill during the deadly shooting. His church held a vigil for the victims Thursday night and pledged to offer counseling throughout the week.
Three families from his church, he said, were directly affected either by a death or injury from the attack.
Noel Sparks, a part-time staff member who worked at the church while going to college, was among the dead. "'If God is God, how could this happen?'" Thornton said. "That's a question that will emerge."
The Rev. Walter Dilg, senior pastor at the United Methodist Church, told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that Sparks was active at the church during her childhood years, serving in the choir and in Sunday groups. When she got into college, she started going to a different church.
"Having her reared at our church, there are a lot of people who are terribly heartbroken over this," he said.
"It is with heavy hearts that we notify you that Noel Sparks was among the victims of last night's shooting. We grieve with Tony Sparks and Wendy Anderson," the United Methodist Church Westlake Village said on Facebook.
According to CNN, the Thousand Oaks gunman was a corporal in the Marines from August 2008 to March 2013. He went to Afghanistan from November 2010 to June 2011.
Thomas Burke, a pastor who served with Long in the same U.S. Marine Corps regiment, said the gunman experienced intense fighting in Helmand province. He warned against blaming Long's actions on PTSD.
"PTSD doesn't create homicidal ideation," Burke said. "We train a generation to be as violent as possible, then we expect them to come home and be OK. It's not mental illness. It's that we're doing something to a generation, and we're not responding to the needs they have."
Courtesy of The Christian Post