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Tucson woman's connection to shooting victim

Posted at 10:44 PM, Dec 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-06 00:44:26-05

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - One of the victim's of the San Bernardino shooting had a close tie with a Tucson woman. 

Kuleem Stephens was good friends with 52-year-old Nicholas Thalasinos. They met about five years ago and talked almost every day on the phone. But it was during one phone conversation that happened two weeks ago where she says Nicholas and his coworker, one of the  shooters Syed Farook, weren't seeing eye to eye.
 
Stephens was on the phone with Thalasinos when he and Farook got into a disagreement with each other about Islam. Just two weeks later, Farook killed Thalasinos and 13 other victims.
 
"His opinion is that Islam is not peaceful and Syed disagreed with that," said Stephens. That's part of the conversation she says she overheard between Thalasinos and Farook. Thalasinos was a Messianic Jew and was very outspoken about religion and politics.
 
Stephens became friends with Thalasinos after he "liked" her political blog on Facebook. Two weeks ago, she says she was on the phone with him here in Arizona. On the other end of the line, was Thalasinos as he was standing next to Farook in California. That's when the topic of Islam came up.
 
"I could hear Nicholas say that Syed didn't believe that Islam is not a peaceful religion. Because Nicholas didn't believe that it was peaceful from the acts that are going on around the country right now. Syed had said in the background, I could hear him, I wasn't on speaker but you could hear him and he was saying that Israel doesn't belong in the Middle East. Nicholas said 'I just cant get through to him. I don't know how to talk to him.'"
 
Stephens said it was a quick conversation and the topic quickly changed. Despite the disagreement between Thalasinos and Farook, she says there weren't any red flags.  
 
"They were talking about it cordially. There weren't raised voices, they weren't yelling at each other, they didn't sound angry. It was passionate you know, they were trying to get their opinions across but they didn't sound angry with each other they were very cordial with each other."
 
Stephens says as outspoken as Thalasinos was, he never showed sings of feeling threatened.
 
"They were calm they were alright. He didn't mention anything about being scared or uncomfortable. Usually Nicholas would voice his opinion very well about whether or not he felt uncomfortable or scared."
 
Funeral arrangements for Thalasinos have not yet been made. A GoFundMe page has been set up for his wife and two kids. To donate, click here.