Artwork spills out of the small home on a dirt road a couple miles outside Thetford Center, where Theresa and Ariana Davidonis live. A wooden archway stands in front of the vinyl-sided home at the beginning of a stone path around the house to a patio, furnished with a small wooden table. Inside, a painting sits unfinished.
The archway, the table, the stone path, the patio the painting — all were created by Macadam Mason.
Another archway stands at the back edge of the patio, feet from where Mason was standing when Vermont State Police Trooper David Shaffer triggered his Taser Wednesday evening, striking Mason in the chest. Loved ones watched from a large picture window on the side of the house as Shaffer, and subsequently, EMTs, tried to revive Mason. Despite their attempts, Mason was declared dead upon arrival at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
Police say they went to the home after a call from Dartmouth-Hitchcock alerting them that Mason had threatened violence against himself and others. Police say Shaffer shot his Taser at Mason when Mason began yelling and moving toward Shaffer as the trooper attempted to take him into protective custody.
Mason was recovering from a seizure at the time of his death, his loved ones say.
Theresa Davidonis was Mason’s significant other. The couple had been living together seven years in the small Thetford home with Davidonis’ teenaged daughter Ariana. Holly, Theresa’s oldest daughter, said Mason was epileptic and suffered from more than 10 seizures last year.
Mason, 39, had a seizure Tuesday evening, just a day before his death.
“It’s part of being [epileptic], you know. He had grand mal seizures. And he had just had a seizure the day before … After he has his seizures, for two days he doesn’t remember stuff, he doesn’t know how to tie shoes, he –” Holly’s younger sister, Ariana cuts in, “Like one time I even had to feed him.”
Holly and Ariana Davidonis, as well as their brother Aleks, all attribute Mason’s behavior the night of his death to the seizure he suffered Tuesday evening.
“Macadam usually isn’t a violent person,” Ariana said. “Just every time – every single time he has a seizure, even the hospital girls, they put boxing gloves on him, because he just – after every seizure he gets really violent.”
Mason was under medical care for his epilepsy and had a prescription for Depakote, an anticonvulsant, at a dosage to treat epilepsy. Holly said he had been hospitalized at one point last year after experiencing multiple seizures.
When he wasn’t recovering from a seizure, though, loved ones described him as a kind, caring man.
“He was amazing with the children, he was gentle, he was an artist,” she said.
At a press conference about the Mason’s death Thursday morning, Col. Thomas L’Esperance confirmed that Mason had a criminal record. Court records at Orange County Superior Court list two DUI charges and one for retail theft of $900 or less. The DUI charges were on July 6, 2010, and Jan. 24, 2009; the retail theft charge was April 21, 2009.
Holly offered a simple explanation for the criminal activity.
“In the past, he did have some charges against him. He was alcoholic; he was an addict. And everybody should know that when addicts are using, they are not the same people, and he hadn’t been in trouble since 2009, so he had been sober for these last three years,” Holly said. “He’s been amazing, he’s an amazing man.”
Aleks Davidonis said he saw Mason sitting on a small hillside with two officers aiming firearms at him. He stood, raised his arms with open palms, and told the officers to shoot him. Both police and Aleks said Shaffer, who was pointing an assault rifle at Mason, lowered the weapon and drew his Taser model X-26 and discharged it, striking Mason in the chest from a range of less than 10 feet.
“He just went limp,” Aleks said. “Didn’t say a word. Just, down.”
Editor’s note: A service for Mason is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 24, at the Thetford Methodist Church in Thetford Center, followed by a reception at the community building.