Manassas woman shot to death

A 22-year-old Manassas mother was found murdered in the back bedroom of her condominium Thursday afternoon, when a friend broke a front window and went in to check on her, Sgt. Bill Goodman, city police spokesman said Friday.

Shawn Katrina Mason, 22, was found on the floor. She had been shot in the head, Goodman said.

Her son, who is about 4 years old, was with his father, and not in the home when her body was found, police said. Information about the father’s address was not available Friday afternoon.

Police began their investigation when they received a call from neighbors at 1:03 p.m. reporting the sound of breaking glass. City police and one sheriff’s deputy in the area responded to the call.

Goodman refused to discuss whether police had any suspects in mind, saying only that the investigation is ongoing.

Mason’s acquaintance, who apparently became concerned when she didn’t respond to phone calls or knocks on the door, is being “very helpful” in the investigation, Goodman said. He would not elaborate.

He would not say whether the friend is a man or woman, or how old that person is.

The acquaintance told police that upon arriving at Mason’s home, the door was locked. That person then broke the front window and entered, police said. That person told police that after the discovery of the body, he or she left through the front door, leaving it unlocked, Goodman said. Police found it in such condition.

Mason had only lived in the complex for a few months, after moving there from Prince William County, neighbors and police said.

On Friday afternoon, the porch light to the upstairs condo remained on, and the window at the top of the stairs the one entered by the acquaintance was boarded up with plywood. Glass bordered all four sides of the window pane, sticking out in jagged edges. The white blinds that covered the window were pulled down and damaged from halfway up its length. Of the two large panes that make up the window, only the right side was broken out.

Neighbors all described Mason as a “pretty girl.” None knew her well, but often said hello in passing.

Walter Neal, 66, lives across the small parking lot in close proximity to Mason’s home. He is on disability and doesn’t leave home.

But he hasn’t heard anything recently. Neal described her as “very friendly.”

Kasen Charles, 19, said Mason was “pretty quiet usually,” adding that he did not know her.

Residents in the Winter’s Branch Condominium Complex were not afraid for their own safety Friday, after learning about Mason’s death; most feel the incident, while tragic, is isolated.

“It seems like a safe place for me to live,” E.J. Matthews, 60, said. And before the murder, he “thought it was a very safe neighborhood.”

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