One of the victims of the possible racially motivated package bombs was 17-year-old musician who was described as “insightful and mature” honor roll student.
Draylen Mason was killed on Monday after a package left on his doorstep detonated. Austin police believe Mason’s attack is connected to two other explosions, one of which killed Anthony Stephan House. They are determining whether the attacks are part of a hate crime since all the victims were minorities.
After Mason was identified as one of the victims, his friend and family spoke to reporters and described the many positive traits the 17-year-possessed. In addition to be academically gifted, Mason was a successful a bassist and member of musical groups, including the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and the Austin Youth Orchestra and Austin Soundwaves, according to his Facebook page.
Mason was a senior at East Austin College Prep, where he was on the honor roll. In 2013, the musician won the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin essay contest. His winning paper investigated racial profiling, reported the NY Daily News.
“I had the honor to meet Draylen Mason in 2013 after he won the Hispanic Bar essay contest. His essay was on racial profiling and was so insightful and mature for such a young man,” said former Austin City Council Member Mike Martinez in a Facebook post late Monday.
According to the Statesman, Mason had been accepted to the University of Texas Butler School of Music. University spokesman J.B. Bird offered condolences to Mason's family.
“This is an accomplishment, as admission to the school is highly competitive,” he said. “We are deeply sorry for his family’s loss.”
Mason was remembered as an all-around positive figure for his community.
"He was a cool guy, and he was just so fun to be around," his friend Kylie Phillips told the Statesman. "He was always busy, because he always had gigs and he was always doing things for the orchestra here in Austin. ... I used to sing in a band with him, so it was so devastating when I found out he died."
During the summers, Mason worked at his grandfather’s dental office.
(Photo: SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty Images)