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Too Young to Die: Mason Hanaway

The 13-year-old hoped to customize his 1969 Chevrolet truck with red paint and rims.

"I guess you thought it would be pretty cool to try to stand and drive your go-kart at the same time, and completely wiped out," Katrina Burgess said in a eulogy about her son.

Mason Hanaway was a 13-year-old daredevil. When Burgess left Mason with his stepfather for the first time, she returned home to find her son bandaged. The bruises were a result of his attempt at a stunt he saw actors perform on a television show. The thrill-seeker once drove his dirt bike through a fence because he hit the throttle instead of the brake. He loved testing the limits his mother set: she often found food under Mason's bed and candy wrappers in his pillowcases. He was a fan of Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell movies.

"Anything inappropriate he liked because he knew he could get a reaction out of me by watching that stuff," Burgess told msnbc. "I don't know why I argued about it with him because he was going to do it anyway."

An eighth-grader at Herbert Green Middle School in his hometown of Placerville, Calif., Mason was excited to start high school in the fall. He hoped to customize his 1969 Chevrolet truck--a present from his stepmother--with red paint and rims before he earned his driver's license in a few years.

He dreamed of eventually becoming a California highway patrolman, a position he used to threaten his mother with when she enforced rules and discipline.

"When I get older and I'm a CHP," he teased his mother, "I'm going to pull you over and give you a ticket."

Mason died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on April 8 at his home in Placerville.

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