Man remembers best friend killed in Pulse nightclub massacre 1 year later

49 people killed in Orlando on June 12, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. – On the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre, one man was looking back at the memories he shared with his best friend before he was gunned down.

"Shane sang. Shane was a performer," Jai Saint said. "He was a ball of life. That's just what he was. He was an entertainer -- a born entertainer."

Saint said Shane Tomlinson was more than just his best friend -- he was a brother.
"The lord was just calling him home, and that's kind of my comforting thing. It was just his time," Saint said.

Saint was among the dozens of family members and friends who made frantic calls to their loved ones a year ago Monday, but sadly, got no answers.

Saint said Tomlinson was a singer in a local band. His name was one of the first of the 49 victims to be released.

Saint said he broke down after finding out that his best friend had died, but was quickly comforted.

"It was just kind of like Shane tapped me on the shoulder, 'Alright, I need you to pull it together because now I need you to help my mom, dad, sister through all of this. I'm counting on you,'" Saint said.

Saint said an overwhelming outpouring of support he still feels today is what helped him cope with the tragedy.

"There's so many murals, graffiti art, every time you go to a new venue, there's rainbow lighting," Saint said.

But amid the healing, there are still questions.

"Could they have gotten people out faster? But if there's a bomb-type situation, you don't know," Saint said.

Saint said he thought it was wrong that authorities released police bodycam footage of the response days before the anniversary of the June 12, 2016, shooting without warning to the families of the victims killed.

"It's going to be on every news station, so his parents saw it for the first time -- everybody saw it when it was released, and it was just, to me, it was distasteful," Saint said.

Saint said, however, that he respects every law enforcement officer who ran toward the gunshots that night.

He now looks forward to a permanent memorial honoring his friend and the 48 other victims on a night that would change Orlando forever.

"There's going to be Disney, Universal and the Pulse shooting," Saint said.  

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