UPDATE: Friends are still reeling from the death of Clayton Mason who shot and killed in the Brainerd Area on Tuesday night. Mekal Smith has been friends with Mason over 13 years and says he still hasn't fully processed his friend's passing. 

Mekal Smith woke up Wednesday morning thinking he was just getting a birthday phone call from a former teacher. 

"And I think it was just a regular birthday call. I'm like OK she's calling me for my birthday. So hey, how are you doing? 'Hey Mekal, have you heard about Clayton?' 'Nope. What's wrong with Clayton?' 'I heard he passed,'" said Smith. 

Smith says when he heard the news he just felt frozen. 

"I went to work, thinking he was going to call me and say 'Happy Birthday, Mekal. Happy Birthday Mekal,'" said Smith. 

Mason dedicated his life to mentoring and teaching. He even taught for a year in Indonesia. 

"Clayton at the end of the day, he wanted everybody to learn. He was willing to give himself for the community that he lived in," said Smith. 

He says it was humbling to be Mason's friend. Mason had a profound impact on everyone around him.

"The type of people that you stand among are giant or that they have a monumental atmosphere among other people and to see the number of people that he's touched individually it amazes me," said Smith.  

Now Smith is trying to move forward honoring the memory of the man he says made him who he is. 

"The person that I am is because of Clayton, just having a best friend like him," said Smith. "To lose a springboard of a person that will always jump start your day, your life, your motivation, I don't know how I'm going to be motivated to be better than what I am."

But he knows Mason who was working two jobs, on with UTC and another with the Baylor School, and constantly trying to better himself, would want everyone he touched to stay motivated.

"He made sure that everyone around him, he wanted them to know that I'm Clayton Mason and I'm here to help you. And these kids that saw that in him he wouldn't want them to stop what they're doing he wouldn't want them to give up," said Smith.  

Mason started working with Baylor on August 21.

The school released a statement:

Baylor headmaster Scott Wilson shared the news with Baylor faculty and staff Wednesday afternoon stating that Clayton was a well-loved and respected member of the school community.  “There are really no words that can adequately reflect our sorrow and shock in such a moment.”


PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga Police identify Clayton Mason as the person who was was shot and killed on N. Tuxedo Ave.  Police say they found Mason in the Brainerd area on Tuesday night.

Another man was shot in same incident. He survived.

Anyone with info is asked to call the Homicide Tip Line 423-643-5100.


PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga police say a man was found dead in the Brainerd area on Tuesday night.

The body was found shortly after 11:00 p.m. in the 100 block of Tuxedo Avenue.

CPD spokesperson Elisa Myzal says the victim was  found with a gunshot wound.

Police are investigating the death as a homicide.

Myzal says the victim’s name will not be released until his family has been notified.

Myzal says more information about the case will be released pending the progress of the investigation.

Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this developing story.