Teenage Music Student Reportedly Killed in Austin Package Explosion: 'an Outstanding Son'
The teenage boy killed in a package explosion in Austin, Texas, earlier this week has reportedly been identified as 17-year-old Draylen Mason.
Tributes to Mason, who died on Monday and who was later identified by friends, have begun to spread across social media, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Mason was a senior at East Austin College Prep where he participated in many musical programs, according to his Facebook memorial page. The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office in Texas did not immediately respond to a call from PEOPLE to confirm Mason’s identity as one of the explosion victims.
Austin police previously said that a teenage boy was one of two casualties in a package explosion on Old Fort Hill Drive before 7 a.m. Monday. The boy was killed and a woman in her 40s, believed to be the teen’s mother, was injured.
High school friend Stephanie Lucio told the Statesman that she remembered Mason as “talented to the max, from dancing to playing so many instruments.”
Lucio added, “As for his mother, I pray for her strength and recovery. … She raised an outstanding son, friend, student and global citizen.”
There is no known motive for the explosions at this time, police have said. When asked if authorities believe the incident was terrorism, a police spokeswoman told PEOPLE on Monday: “We’re not ruling out what this could be.”
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Mason had been accepted to the University of Texas’ Butler School of Music, school spokesman J.B. Bird told the Statesman.
“This is an accomplishment, as admission to the school is highly competitive,” Bird said. “We are deeply sorry for his family’s loss.”
Five hours after the first Monday explosion, Austin police responded to a second blast from a package more than five miles away, which injured a Latina in her 70s.
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At a news conference on Monday, interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said the explosions were similar to one that killed a local man on March 2 and authorities believe the incidents are linked.
The fatal victim in that case was an African-American man reportedly identified as 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House.
Manley said authorities “cannot rule out that [a] hate crime is at the core of this, but we are not saying that’s the cause as well. We are just looking at any possible motivations that would link these two cases together.”
Previously, the March 2 case — which also occurred in the morning, when the victim found a package on his front steps that exploded — was being investigated as a suspicious death but was now being investigated as a homicide.
Michelle Lee, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s field office in San Antonio, Texas, did not describe the packages used in the explosions but told PEOPLE: “They look legitimate enough to handle.”
The FBI and Austin police are asking the public not to touch or open unexpected or suspicious packages.
People who receive a suspicious package should call 911 or 512-974-2000.