On March 12, 2018, an Austin teenager lost his life after he opened a package that exploded in his house. Recently, officials were able to identify the victim. Here is everything you need to know about Draylen Mason.
Monday started as a typical day for Draylen Mason, who was getting ready for his morning workout with his mother, Shamika Wilson. Mason saw a package outside, brought it inside, and opened it in the kitchen.
Little did Mason and his family know that the package would take his life and injure his mother, who is in her 40s.
Police were able to determine a connection between Mason and another victim of the Austin package explosions. On March 2, 2018, Anthony Stephan House was killed after he opened a package that contained an explosive device.
House’s stepfather, Freddie Dixon is reportedly a longtime friend of Draylen Mason’s grandfather, Norman Mason. At this time, police are still investigating to determine where and when the packages are being dropped off.
Who Was Draylen Mason?
According to Mason’s Facebook page, he lived in Austin, Texas his entire life. In 2012, he started attending East Austin College Prep where he was expected to graduate this June.
Mason played the bass at Interlochen Center for the Arts, and was principal double bass at Austin Youth Orchestra, as well as Austin Soundwaves. Aside from playing the bass guitar and double bass, he was a singer and black belt martial artist, having taken karate classes from the age of five.
Since his first flight in 2008, Mason traveled to places like Spain and Colombia, documenting his experiences on social media. He was an aspiring neurosurgeon.
After earning his third-degree black belt when he was 14, Mason started teaching karate.
A Very Bright Kid with a Bright Future
In 2013, when Mason was in eighth grade, he won the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin essay competition. For the contest, minority students were asked to write about important legal issues their community faces. Mason’s winning essay was about racial profiling.
Each summer, Mason worked at his grandfather, Norman L. Mason’s dental office. A receptionist there called Mason, a “precious young man.” She added, “He was very, very intelligent. He was a good young man.”
The receptionist said that Draylen was Norman’s only grandchild. His grandmother, LaVonne Mason, is a co-founder of the Austin Area Urban League.
Doug Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts at UT Austin, called Mason “the most remarkable talent in a most remarkable youth orchestra program called Austin Sound Waves.”
He added, “His gentle confidence seemed to come from a conviction that hard work and talent was going to work for him. It did.”
Mason was accepted to the University of Texas Butler School of Music. His friends described him as kindhearted, easygoing, talented, and very busy because of his performances.
Draylen Mason’s Memorial Fund
A Draylen Mason Memorial fund has been set up for the family, who not only lost a loved one, but also have a home that was severely damaged. Their goal is to raise $25,000.
Draylen Mason was a very talented and brilliant individual, who had big dreams of helping others. Our condolences go to his family and friends at this difficult time.
Police are still investigating the case to determine whether or not these package explosions are to be considered hate crimes.