Austin, Texas remains on edge after a series of package bombs killed two people, including 17-year-old Draylen Mason.
Though the Travis County medical examiner’s office did not immediately identify the teen, Mason’s friends and family have been sharing their grief and remembering the exceptionally talented young man on social media.
“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 use to sing in a band with him, so it was so devastating when I found out he died."
Mason was a senior at East Austin College Prep and was heavily involved in music. He was the principal bassist in the Austin Youth Orchestra and in Austin Soundwaves, another local music program. Because of his talent, Mason had already been accepted into the competitive University of Texas Butler School of Music, where officials were looking forward to welcoming the teen in the fall.
“We at the University of Texas were so eager to have him join our music school,” Doug Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts, said to the Statesman.
“[Draylen] carried himself with a kind of quiet maturity that belied his youth,” he added. “The loss of any child is heartbreaking. The loss of a child with such conspicuous ambition, talent and determination is the cruelest kind of heartbreak. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, teachers and fellow students.”
Austin City Council Member Mike Martinez also took to Facebook to remember the teen.
“I had the honor to meet Draylen Mason in 2013 after he won the Hispanic Bar essay contest,” Martinez wrote. “His essay was on racial profiling and was so insightful and mature for such a young man. All of these tragedies are so horrible for our community. We must put a stop to this. RIP Draylen.”
Mason was killed on Monday morning after a hand-delivered package exploded at his home. The blast was so severe it also seriously injured his mother.
Although a motive for the bombings remains unclear, so far they have seemed to target people of color and police believe they are connected. In addition to Mason, 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House was killed during an explosion on March 2 and 75-year-old Esperanza Herrera was critically injured during another blast just hours after Mason was killed.