Police have identified Draylen Mason as the 17-year-old killed in a series of package bomb explosions that have rocked an Austin, Texas community.
Austin is on high alert with a dangerous bomber on the loose.
Draylen Mason is reportedly one of four victims so far in a string of attacks that involves bombs left outside of the homes of minority families. While the bombs have all been set off in a neighborhood largely populated by Black and Hispanic families, Austin police have been hesitant to label the attacks hate crimes.
According to The Daily Mail, Draylen Mason was an aspiring musician. His grandfather Norman Mason was a renowned dentist with strong community ties. Mason’s grandmother LaVonne Mason broke ground as the co-founder of the Austin chapter of the National Urban League.
The Violin Channel reports that Draylen Mason was an honor roll bass student at the East Austin College Prep, where he studied with William Bill Dick. Mason was also a member of the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Austin Youth Orchestra and the Austin Soundwaves.
Austin police are scrambling to find the source of the explosions and have urged minority residents, who they believe are being targeted, to exercise caution.
According the Austin authorities, within a 10-day timeframe there have been three bombings. Esperanza Herrera, a 75-year-old Hispanic woman suffered potentially fatal injuries and was rushed to the hospital.
Another African-American man, Anthony Stephan House, died on March 2 and another woman was gravely injured in that attack as well.
Austin on alert
At a press conference, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters that in each of the cases, the packages were left overnight on the victims’ doorsteps and were not mailed or sent by a delivery service. The U.S. Postal Service confirmed to investigators that the packages did not come through their facilities, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
“We don’t know what the motive behind these may be,” Manley said about the Austin bombings. “We do know that both of the homes that were the recipients of these packages belong to African-Americans, so we cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this. But we’re not saying that that’s the cause as well.”
There is now a $15,000 reward being offered for information leading to an arrest, according to Texas governor’s office.