Two of the 49 victims gunned down in a gay Orlando club on Sunday had ties to Atlanta, with one of the men having lived here as he pursued his passions in modeling and singing.
Shane Evan Tomlinson (photo), 33, sang with his band Frequency on Saturday at Blue Martini nightclub just hours before he was killed at Pulse in downtown Orlando. Tomlinson, from Concord, N.C., lived in Orlando and graduated from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. in December 2003 with a bachelor's degree in communications. Via the Orlando Sentinel:
Tomlinson's band Frequency often performed at Blue Martinis, with three shows scheduled in the next two weeks at the club's location in Tampa and Orlando.
Videos of his performances show Tomlinson as an energetic lead man, belting out popular hit songs and almost always well dressed at shows in button-down shirts, ties and vests. Frequency performed songs from the 1970s through 2010s with Tomlinson's smooth voice leading the way.
Tomlinson's ties to Atlanta include modeling work between 2006 and 2009. He has past addresses in Duluth, Atlanta and Marietta, according to the AJC. WSB reported on Monday that relatives of Tomlinson still live in Atlanta.
Tomlinson was a gospel singer during his time at East Carolina, according to a statement from the school.
Dr. Lathan Turner, associate director of student transitions at ECU, worked at the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center on campus and met Tomlinson when he was a student. They kept in touch over the years.
“He was a great person – if you met him once he became a part of who you are,” said Turner.
He said Tomlinson spent a lot of time at the Cultural Center participating in and attending events. He was also a part of the ECU gospel choir and the student modeling group Ombionce.
“He was destined for a grand stage and he was doing exactly what he wanted to do,” said Turner.
Tarrick Cox is the advisor for ECU’s gospel choir and worked with Tomlinson when he was a member. He remembers Tomlinson’s contagious personality and laughter that surrounded him when he was around other people.
“He was gifted and creative. He was a go-getter who did well academically. He always looked at people as individuals and never categorized them,” said Cox.
Turner said Tomlinson leaves behind his mother, father, sister and young nephew the he adored.
A second victim of the Orlando massacre – Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rasado, 35 – was a dancer who performed at Atlanta Bachata in 2014, according to the AJC.
Although the event focuses on Latin dance and music, Rosado gave a contemporary performance.
“It had nothing to do with Latin dancing but it was how he felt,” said event director Jose Maldonado. “He stood out. His performance was not the regular salsa. It was passion driven. It set him apart.”
It's with a heavy heart we must confirm the passing of Eman Valentino (Xavier E. Serrano) after being shot at the Orlando nightclub Pulse by a madman. He was part of Splash's extended family and leaves a small son behind. He took his time to work with Flagpole, Grant, Vadim and some of the other dancers to improve their moves and was quick with a smile. He most recently appeared as a male entertainer at Splash as well as a go go dancer. Our prayers are with your family, my friend.