AUSTIN, Texas - Local basketball legends are honoring their friend who was shot dead on Saturday. It was the first of five incidents the Austin Police Department responded to this past weekend, involving six deaths.
Family and friends said they were shocked to find out their loved one, known as a celebrity in East Austin, was shot and killed.
"Like anytime we go somewhere, everybody surrounds him. He’ll give 50 handshakes to everybody and the kids coming up to him, he’s loved by everybody," Marcus Johnson aka Cash Money, friend of Jarod Mason, said.
Jarod Mason, better known as ‘Dirt,’ was known for making people laugh, having a smile that will never be forgotten, and he was considered a street basketball legend.
"To this day, one of my favorite players to watch ever," Johnson said.
"That was my little brother," Kris Clack, friend of Jarod Mason, said.
Clack said they played basketball every day at Givens Park until the gym was closed.
"It helped me develop my game, helped me become a number one kid in Texas in high school as a basketball player, and also it helped me become an NBA Draft pick and an overseas professional player, so I leave a lot of that up to them and to my family," Clack said.
Dirt also helped others improve their game.
"One of the biggest role models in my life," Jarmaine Mason Jr., Jarod Mason’s nephew, said.
On Saturday, July 15, a little before 7 a.m., Austin police found Dirt shot dead at the Westlake Apartments on North Capital Texas Highway.
"There are evil people out here, you know, and they're doing the work of Satan, and they are snatching souls of good people not knowing who they're taking. But they have really taken from this family," Demetra Batts, family friend of Jarod Mason, said.
The Austin Police Department said multiple suspects left the scene in a vehicle.
"I hope that they are caught. I hope that justice is served to the max," Batts said.
No arrests have been made.
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"The street life, you know, they have a code, we don’t tell, so they know people will know what happened or who did it, and they’ll never talk," Batts said.
Dirt is one of six people who were killed in five separate incidents in Austin over the weekend.
"We have a bunch of angry young people out here carrying guns," Batts said.
Anyone with any information should contact the Austin Police Department at 512-974-TIPS. You may submit your tip anonymously through the Capital Area Crime Stoppers Program by visiting austincrimestoppers.org or calling 512-472-8477. A reward of up to $1,000 may be available for any information that leads to an arrest.