Lashawn Daniels wrote poetry and aspired to work at P&G, say those who knew him. The Mason teenager died Dec. 10 while attempting to hold up a gas station armed with a BB gun. Photo/Facebook
As friends and family gathered Tuesday to say their final goodbyes to a Mason teenager shot to death during an attempted robbery, Mason Mayor David Nichols is left to grapple with the question of why.
Why did Lashawn Daniels, a 19-year-old college student with no criminal history, attempt to rob a Springfield Township convenience store Dec. 10 armed with a BB gun?
Why did the poetry-writing teenager, who’d overcome the odds simply to graduate high school, not take Nichols, whom he considered a mentor, up on his offer for help?
“We’re all asking, ‘What happened? What did we miss here?’,” said Nichols. “I will always wonder and question myself, ‘Was I quick enough?’ What if, what if, what if… I have to answer that on my own.”
Nichols vividly recalls the day he met Daniels in the spring of 2011 while visiting Mason High School. Daniels, then a senior, approached him, firmly shook his hand and asked if he were the governor.
After a few chuckles, Daniels began telling the mayor the story of his life, a sad tale of a homeless teenager from a broken home, who lived with host families his senior year of high school, but who was determined to overcome the odds and land a dream job at Procter & Gamble, said Nichols.
“He said he was determined to break the chains of his family history,” said Nichols.
The pair struck up a correspondence that lasted until just weeks before Daniels’ death. Nichols wrote letters of recommendation for the teen, who graduated in 2011, and invited him to attend city council meetings.
By most accounts, Daniels was on the path to success. He worked two jobs during the summer, moved into his own apartment and enrolled at the University of Cincinnati – Blue Ash College, according to his friends and family.
“The young man seemed to be trying to overcome so many things,” said Nichols. “He knew the odds were against him, but he was trying so hard to totally make it on his own.”
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