Top Above: Mason Brown at Frances Park in Lansing, MI with his best friend and dog Buddy. The park is a beautiful space that features a picturesque rose garden, woodland trail, and river overlook. It is one of his favorite places.
By Rina Risper
LANSING, MI — For the past two years, 19-year-old Mason Brown has used Facebook Marketplace to advertise the sneakers he purchased and refurbished. According to Mason, it was the most effective way to sell sneakers to buyers locally. According to thrivemyway.com, the bazaar-inspired sales platform that was created in 2016, has blossomed into Facebook and Facebook Marketplace attracting over 2.91 billion monthly users. This number consists of roughly 35% of the entire world’s population.
Facebook Marketplace is tied directly to buyers’ and sellers’ Facebook accounts. Obviously, those can be faked as well, but at the very least you can look at a person’s profile, find their friends, find out how long they’ve been on Facebook, check their previous Marketplace activity, and so on. (You can also report them if something seems suspicious.). However, this platform can also be a dangerous place for some.
In the beginning, Mason had a steady income from the wildly popular online sales site. However, after being robbed of a pair of sneakers in 2020, he changed his strategy. He only made transactions in very public places and only carried one shoe with him to show the buyer and after receiving the money, he would provide them with the other.
When Mason set up a meeting with a buyer on August 16, 2022, he expected a routine cash transaction that they agreed upon. Following safe protocols, the meeting was arranged at a local Quality Dairy in the afternoon at about 4:30 p.m. located at the intersection of West Mount Hope and Pattengill Avenues.
Mason said he did not think that safety would not be an issue for him in the store parking lot. He was not prepared for violence and was shot in the stomach by the buyer who tried to rob him of the shoes.
As customers and store employees held Mason’s hand, the scene was somber. Mason said he did not want to die. He was sent to the hospital a short time later with a life-threatening wound to his stomach. His father, Casey Brown, said, “When I saw my boy with that bullet hole in his stomach, I just fell to the ground and started crying and praying to God and thanking him for saving my son’s life. He is a good boy and does not get into trouble and did not deserve this.”
Miraculously, Mason was sent home after a week in the hospital. He had some complications and had to return the day after his release. He went to a relative’s house to heal, while his supplies and books lay on the table for his supposed first day of school at Lansing Community College. Obtaining a degree in Business was Mason’s primary focus before he was the victim of violence. He plans on resuming his education soon.
Casey Brown said, “My son is definitely a warrior. I am shocked that this could happen in broad daylight at a normally safe place. You have to be careful when you interact online. I hope they catch the perpetrators soon. This violent action has devastated my family. We are blessed but we have a long road ahead of us.”
Allegedly there are four suspects on the loose. The investigation is ongoing.
Editor’s note: We contacted the Lansing Police Department and have not received a response as of August 30, 2022. We will update you when further information is available.