The reward being offered for information about the person or persons who killed Travis Mason, a former Marine who was fatally shot while working as a security guard at a marijuana dispensary in June 2016, has been increased to $55,000, more than triple the original amount. Authorities hope the increase will help break the case that's remained unsolved for more than a year.
We spoke to Samantha Mason in the days before Travis was laid to rest in Pueblo. She described him as "a loving, family person" — and that's a good thing, since the pair were raising quite a clan. He was the father of twins (one girl, one boy), as well as a baby boy.
"He really cared about his children," she stressed. "He always talked about them with everybody, was always showing their pictures and made sure they were always having fun. We always ate together as a family."
After Travis completed his commitment to the Marines, the Masons moved back to Colorado, his home state, to be nearer his family, most of whom are located in Trinidad. But they'd recently moved to Denver. Travis wanted to become a police officer, but in the meantime, he was working two jobs to put food on the table — gigs at King Soopers and Green Heart.
He didn't complain about this schedule or the delay in making his career dreams come true, Samantha says. "We always tried to look for the good in everything," she notes, "because we're really positive people, and we tried to take a positive outlook."
Travis was hired at Green Heart less than a month before he died. Was he concerned about the risks the assignment entailed? "We didn't talk about it too much," Samantha replied. "It was just something really new. I knew somewhat of the dangers, but I didn't think anything would ever happen."
It did — and Samantha was the first to sense the disaster to come.
"Anytime we'd go anywhere, we'd always call each other," she recalled. "We promised each other that every time we'd leave a place, we'd always get into contact with each other. So when he didn't contact me that night, I knew something was wrong."
Samantha was "the one who called 911," she continued. "And I called them multiple times to get information, because I was left in the dark. I didn't get any information until one o'clock in the morning, or something like that, when the police showed up at my door."
The Aurora Police Department's version of the events goes like this: At approximately 9:44 p.m. on June 18 of last year, officers were called to Green Heart on a report of a robbery with shots fired. Upon their arrival, they found Travis. He was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead after being transported to an area hospital.
In the wake of Travis's death, a reward of $12,000 was offered — an amount split between the APD and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, supplemented by a $3,000 pledge from Euflora, a neighboring dispensary. In addition, the Aurora police released a surveillance photo of possible suspects in the case; they were described as two African-American men armed with handguns.
Their attempt at robbery was unsuccessful. The suspects fled without either money or dispensary products.
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The new reward of $55,000 was announced this week by Metro Denver Crime Stoppers.
Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the organization at 720-913-STOP (7867) or text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the title DMCS.
In the year since Travis was laid to rest, Samantha has frequently shared photos of him on her Facebook page. Her current profile image memorializes a family visit to his grave site, and the most recent post shows Travis with the kids.
Another photo of Samantha and Travis is emblazoned with a simple message: "I will love you forever."