Friends and teachers remember teen killed by package explosion

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Neighbors and friends have identified the young man killed by a package explosion in East Austin as 17-year old Draylen Mason.

Another woman in her 40’s was injured and taken to the hospital.

"They brought that package inside the residence and as they opened that package, both victims were in the kitchen and the package exploded," said Interim Chief Brian Manley.

Shortly after the news broke, social media flooded with prayers and condolences for the family and all who loved the East Austin College Prep student. His Austin Youth Orchestra conductor is one of those people who cherished him. 
"It was like he had a light,” said Kay Vanlandingham, conductor and board member at A.Y.O.

Vanlandingham remembers her student as a shining star who played the bass.

"He was 100 percent dependable. He just learned he had been accepted into the University of Texas. He was waiting on acceptance from the other colleges and he'd been accepted into the bass studio at U.T," said Vanlandingham.

There have been three packages explosions over the last 11 days. Austin police believe they are connected and they are not ruling out hate crimes. 

"Why Draylen? He was a kid with so much promise. A bright future. This last Monday was spring break. Because of the outpouring of the A.Y.O. community and the devastating loss that we feel it's probably a good thing we didn't have rehearsal Monday," said Vanlandingham.

For those who loved Mason, they're only left with memories.

"Last fall I kind of got on him because he didn't turn in a chair test, he didn't do a recorded chair test and I asked him why he didn’t turn in his chair test he’s going to sit last chair he said ‘Ms. V. I don't want anyone to think I'm better than they are. I don't want my music to be a competition," said Vanlandingham.

But they continue to hope his killer is brought to justice.

Authorities urge all to be cautious and don't touch a package if it seems suspicious.