‘The little boys in his classroom were crying’: community mourns the loss of SC 8-year-old who died in home invasion

Published: May. 17, 2019 at 11:04 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - The Lexington community is grieving the loss of 8-year-old Mason Hanahan, who lost his life after an early morning home invasion and shootout on Cedar Vale Drive on Tuesday.

While deputies continue to search for the killer, classmates and friends mourn the unimaginable. Summer Davis’ son Benton was in Mason’s second-grade class at Oak Grove Elementary School.

She says her son and his friends are so upset, “the little boys in his classroom were crying.”

“I mean it breaks my heart. To see my child cry I want to take his pain away,” Davis said. “I don’t want him you know to feel the hurt of losing a friend at such a young age it’s really traumatizing for anybody.”

A pain Davis said she never thought her son would feel.

“When it came down to nighttime, he got in the shower and he started really thinking about everything. He broke down in the shower, I got him out of the shower I was drying him off and he’s still breaking down,” Davis said. “To talk about that with a child, I mean they don’t understand that. They are eight years old. They don’t understand so it’s really upsetting and hard.”

His mother, Tyler, spoke with WIS on the phone and told us he had dreams of being a professional baseball player.

She says in addition to baseball, he absolutely loved his family, school, his teachers and his classmates.

Meadow Glen Middle School, where Mason’s sister is enrolled, had students showed up in red in support of Mason by wearing his favorite color, according to a spokesperson from the school district.

As for memorials, a spokesperson from the school district says it’s uncommon for elementary school students to do that because it is hard for them to understand death.

Oak Grove Elementary also had counselors on hand to talk with his classmates.

This was the letter provided to parents from the school principal in regards to Mason Hanahan’s death:

May 15, 2019

Dear OGES Parents:

We have some sad news to share. One of our second graders, Mason Hanahan, passed away. His family gave us permission to share this news. However, they also asked for privacy.

We chose to send this information to you because we want you to know what we are doing to support your children and our staff.

Our goal is to keep the school day as normal as possible. We are all listening to your students’ comments and watching for any signs of distress.

During school, district and school counselors and psychologists will be available to meet with your child should the need arise. However, if we have any concerns about how your child handles this, we will contact you directly by telephone.

We know how hard something like this is even for adults to understand. This letter contains some general suggestions about how you can help your child. In general, after something like this, children need to know that they are safe and that their home is safe. Remember, too, that children look to the adults in their lives, watch how they handle grief and loss, and take their cues from you as they approach difficult situations like this.

If you do discuss the death, use very simple language and ideas as death is a very hard concept for young children to grasp. Listed below are a few general strategies you may choose to use to talk with your child about death:

  • Give honest, brief explanations.
  • Avoid over-answering questions.
  • Keep responses at the child’s level of understanding.
  • Listen and hug.
  • Use a calm, reassuring voice.
  • Avoid forcing the discussion.
  • Remind children it is natural and acceptable to show emotion when someone we love dies.

If you are worried about your child’s reaction, please do not hesitate to call our school at 803-821-0100. We are here to support your students through this.


Sherry Cariens


The Lexington County Sheriff's Department says it is now depending on the community to help them find the man responsible.

Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact Crimestoppers by calling 1-888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372) or visiting www.midlandscrimestoppers.com or www.p3tips.com and click on the “submit a tip” tab. Your identity will be kept anonymous, and if your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

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