RALEIGH — A new toxicology report in the case of a Boone man who was shot and killed by a Watauga County sheriff’s deputy in March shows concentrations of THC and LSD in his system, according to documents released Aug. 8.
“The presence of LSD confirms what Mr. Mason said and explains some of the actions he took toward the officer in that regard,” District Attorney Seth Banks said on Aug. 8. “This is all a very tragic event. Certainly our condolences go to the family.”
The new report, released by the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, is a follow-up to the original report released July 5 regarding the shooting death of Andrew John Mason, 22, of Boone. Banks said he requested the further testings based on the evidence he had seen.
Mason was shot once in the abdomen after lunging at Watauga County Sheriff Office Deputy Adam Gragg, according to body camera footage viewed by the Watauga Democrat and written accounts of the incident obtained by the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation. The incident took place around 11:45 p.m. on March 30 in the 2200 block of Hardin Road. Gragg and other deputies were responding to numerous 911 calls of a man either trying to break into a home via the front door or screaming while walking down the road.
Mason was transported by Watauga Medics to Watauga Medical Center, then by helicopter to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, where he was declared dead at 3:24 a.m.
Banks determined the shooting was lawful in a July 11 statement.
According to the report, Mason had 8.6 nanograms per milliliter of Delta-9 Carboxy THC and 6.1 nanograms per milliliter of Delta-9 THC in his system.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is commonly known as the primary mind-altering ingredient of cannabis. According to the Mayo Clinic Laboratories, a global reference laboratory that helps health care providers with testing, Carboxy THC is the metabolized form that THC takes after being ingested.
Mason’s toxicology report also found 0.33 nanograms per milliliter of LSD in his system.
“If consumed in a sufficiently large dose, LSD produces delusions and visual hallucinations that distort the user’s sense of time and identity,” the U.S. Department of Justice says of LSD.
In Gragg’s body camera footage, the officers ask Mason after the incident whether he had taken any drugs and he responded, “Yeah. Acid.” A text message received by a friend less than three hours before the incident appears to show Mason taking what he claimed was acid.
Banks said that acid is a street name for LSD.
According to the N.C. Division of Health and Human Services, what constitutes a high level of substances in a person varies from person to person. On Aug. 8, a N.C. DHHS spokesperson couldn’t comment on what the LSD or THC amounts found in Mason’s toxicology report means. Banks said he hadn’t talked to the N.C. OCME about the results and declined to talk about what the substance amounts mean in relation to the incident.
The toxicology report also found caffeine was present, as well as the etomidate and ketamine that was previously confirmed as begin administered during hospital treatment.
The new toxicology report was analyzed by NMS Labs in Pennsylvania with specimens obtained by Mark Giffen, a medical examiner in Forsyth County at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, on April 1. The report was approved by N.C. OCME toxicologist Justin Brower.
A message to the law office of Tom Speed, who represents Andrew’s father David Mason, was not returned as of press time.