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Talented musician heading to UT murdered in bomb attack

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Draylen Mason, the 17-year-old killed Monday morning in the second of three bomb attacks in Austin in less than two weeks, has been described as an exceptionally talented student who was accepted into the selective Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin.

Interim Austin Chief of Police Brian Manley confirmed Mason was one of the two people killed Monday by package bombs left outside Austin homes.

Manley, in a Tuesday afternoon press conference, said, "From everything I've heard about Draylen, he was an outstanding young man who was going places with his life -- and it's an absolute tragedy that he's no longer with us."

His mother, who was also injured in the explosion in the 4800 block of Oldfort Hill Drive around 6:44 a.m., is in stable condition, the chief said.

The dean of the College of Fine Arts at UT Austin, Doug Dempster, said Mason was the "most remarkable talent in a most remarkable youth orchestra program called Austin Sound Waves."

The program provides free music instruction to artistically underserved children, especially in east Austin.

"Draylen was one of the very first students to grow musically through the entire program and was due to graduate this spring," Dempster said. Mason, who played the bass, was on track to audition into the Butler School of Music at UT beginning next year as a freshman.

"At Sound Waves performances one could often see him leaning in to lead and coach younger and more tentative players," Dempster said. "His gentle confidence seemed to come from a conviction that hard work and talent was going to work for him. It did."

Dean Dempster ended with, "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." 

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