Just hours before he was killed in the mass shooting in Orlando, Shane Evan Tomlinson took center stage at the Blue Martini Lounge and did what friends back in North Carolina remember him doing best: He performed and he sang.
Tomlinson, who graduated from Northwest Cabarrus High School and East Carolina University, was lead vocalist for Frequency Band, a cover group in the Orlando area hired for clubs and weddings.
After his gig Saturday night, he went to the Pulse nightclub about 10 miles away. He and another North Carolinian – Tevin Eugene Crosby who grew up in Statesville – were among 49 victims there.
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As news of the massacre spread Sunday morning, friends began a desperate search to find Tomlinson – described by a fellow musician as “kind hearted, funny, passionate.”
“I pray to God that you not answering your phone is pure coincidence,” the musician tweeted.
On Monday, after the City of Orlando announced his death, the flag at Northwest Cabarrus High in Concord was lowered to half staff.
“Our hearts are broken to learn that Shane's was one of the young lives lost in this senseless act of violence," Concord Mayor Scott Padgett said in a statement. "We lift up his parents as well as the entire Tomlinson family in prayer and support. There are many people in our community who loved and remember Shane from his youth and we join his family in grief."
Tomlinson was a 1999 graduate of Northwest Cabarrus High , where he played saxophone in the Trojan Regiment marching band and choreographed the 1998 homecoming show, "Get Down with Motown."
In December 2003, he graduated from East Carolina University with a bachelor of science degree in communication and a minor in business administration. He is remembered there for his “high intensity personality and impressive singing voice.”
He was a member of the gospel choir and the student modeling group Ombionce, according to the ECU News Service. “If you met him once he became a part of who you are,” Dr. Lathan Turner, associate director of student transitions, told the news service. “He was destined for a grand stage and he was doing exactly what he wanted to do.”
Tarrick Cox, advisor to the gospel choir, said Tomlinson had a contagious personality. “He was gifted and creative,” Cox said. “He was a go-getter who did well academically. He always looked at people as individuals and never categorized them.”
Turner said Tomlinson leaves behind his mother, father, a sister and a young nephew he adored.