Shane Tomlinson’s talented voice and passion for others are just a couple ways those who knew and loved him will remember him. The 33-year-old was one of 49 people tragically killed early Sunday morning at an Orlando nightclub.
Tomlinson was a 1999 graduate of Northwest Cabarrus High School. His father, Stephen Tomlinson, said his son was strong in his faith and sang to the Lord as a toddler, and that his family is relying on that same faith to get through the darkest period in their lives.
“Shane has always been someone who loved the Lord, from the time when he was 18-months-old, he sang to the Lord,” the father said.
His family had already heard about the shooting and were driving to Atlanta to visit family when one of Tomlinson’s friend’s contacted them.
The friend told them Tomlinson was inside the club and couldn’t find him. The parents drove straight to Orlando and eventually heard the tragic news.
“My heart is broken,” his mother, Corliss Tomlinson, said. “It's never going to heal. It'll never be the same.”
She said she doesn’t hate the killer, she hates what he did to her son and hates what's happening in the world.
“There's something very wrong with people that they feel that whatever sickness they have to feel better about themselves, they have to take out half the world,” she said.
"The world is a little bit grayer to me now," said Kristen Thompson. She met Tomlinson at Northwest Cabarrus High School, where they both graduated. They've been friends for 20 years.
"He wasn't sick. He wasn't old. This wasn't an accident. He was murdered, so this makes it a much harder pill to swallow," Thompson told Channel 9.
Tomlinson moved to Orlando a few years ago and was the lead singer for a central-Florida based band called Frequency. He performed just hours before his death.
"He was just lively and confident," said Tara Worrell. Eyewitness News anchor Liz Foster spoke to her and two other friends who sang with Tomlinson in a choir at East Carolina University.
Tomlinson earned a degree in communications from ECU inn 2003.
"He would come into a room and just his posture, his stance, his laugh, the way he interacted with people. It would actually made a difference in the lives of people he encountered," said DeShon Whitaker.
Now, family and friends are trying to grasp the fact that the man they called a light for others will shine through memories.
"I just hate that his life was cut this short because there are so many things he would have and should have accomplished," Thompson said.
“Today, we mourn the loss of Shane Tomlinson and all of those impacted in this senseless tragedy. While gone way too soon, Shane and his family are forever in the hearts of the Pirate Nation," said Dr. Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, in a statement.
A friend told Channel 9 that Tomlinson moved to Orlando to pursue a music career. He grew up in Concord and his parents currently live in Atlanta.
A vigil will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at Northwest Cabarrus High School. On Tuesday there will be a candlelight at East Carolina University at 7:45 p.m. at the Five Points Plaza.
Another man from the Charlotte area was killed in the Orlando nightclub shooting. Tevin Crosby, 25, is from Statesville.
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