Fate, thy name is “diesel.” In Brooksville, FL (50 miles north of Tampa), at about 9:30 Friday night a man named George Mason was fortunately run over by a truck. Fortunately, because the 42-year-old Mason was a convicted felon who was in the process of conducting a killing spree when it happened.
His first victim was his own 81-year-old grandmother, who he shot and killed inside her home on 820 Peach Street. Next came his 29-year-old brother, Ralph Peyton, in the same house, immediately afterward.
After the killings, 37-year-old Tarasha Townsend — mother of Mason’s two children — rushed over from next door. He gunned her down in mid-stride, killing her on the spot. His half-brother, 33-year-old Gabriel Mason was next to investigate the screams and sound of 9 mm rounds going off in the house.
Recognizing the carnage and who was to blame, Gabriel turned and fled, running down the street to escape his half-brother. Mason took off in pursuit, firing wildly at his fleeing brother and hitting him several times — including once in the head.
As Mason closed on his brother to fire a coup de gras, probably before finding more victims, a truck came up behind him. The driver (reportedly) didn’t see him, and slammed into Mason at full cruise speed. Mason is said to have been pulled all the way under the truck on impact, breaking both legs, his back and neck.
A call had already been placed to 9-1-1 by neighbors after the shootings; so, they arrived almost immediately after Mason was hit. But even as they attempted to render aid, Mason, still possessed by whatever malevolent spirit animates men such as he, attempted to grab for his gun and shoot the emergency personnel. But he was too critically injured, and couldn’t lift the gun. He told them as they loaded him into the ambulance that he was the shooter.
As of right now, Mason’s killing spree has ended three lives outright. His half-brother is in critical condition, and Mason himself may not survive.
There is no known motive for the murders as of right now. Mason had a long history of violent assaults and drug convictions, and was known to family and neighbors as severely mentally unstable. Charles Townsend, neighbor:
“He was crazy as Hell. He’s been crazy all his life. There’s more to that, but I’m not going to say.”
As to the driver of the truck, Brooksville Police Chief George Turner said this:
“[The truck driver] hit a murderer who was on a rampage. That truck driver, he was just a guy driving through the area, but he probably saved lives…he took out a shooter who was Hell-bent on killing people.”
And of Mason’s motive, or lack thereof:
“The only one who really knows is Mason. Something just set him off, and he started killing people. I don’t know if there will ever be a definitive motive.”
There is no word yet as to how Mason obtained the gun, but, Florida being Florida, it probably came from a vending machine outside of a Walmart.
Watch a report about the tragedy below.