Crime

Man charged with murder in Peach Stand attack worked for Goodwill

Manager, customers of Fort Mill store in ‘disbelief’ over shooting death

Customers and the general manager at the Peach Stand in Fort Mill said they are shocked that a 19-year-old employee was shot and killed Tuesday in what police say is a "random" shooting at the popular store. Karson Bailey Whitesell was killed afte
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Customers and the general manager at the Peach Stand in Fort Mill said they are shocked that a 19-year-old employee was shot and killed Tuesday in what police say is a "random" shooting at the popular store. Karson Bailey Whitesell was killed afte

The man arrested in connection with the shooting death of a 19-year-old Rock Hill woman Tuesday worked for the Goodwill in Lancaster and “seemed like a normal guy,” according to his neighbors.

Christopher Benjamin Mendez, 28, was arrested and charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, police said Wednesday.

Police say the killing of Karson Bailey Whitesell at The Peach Stand in Fort Mill was a “random” attack.

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont sent a statement on behalf of the Goodwill store in Lancaster, confirming that Mendez was an employee.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our condolences go out to Ms. Whitesell’s family and loved ones,” the statement said.

The statement said Goodwill is cooperating with authorities in the investigation.

Mendez lived with his mother in Palmetto Place apartments in Lancaster, neighbors said.

Customers and the general manager at the Peach Stand in Fort Mill said they are shocked that a 19-year-old employee was shot and killed Tuesday in what police say is a "random" shooting at the popular store. Karson Bailey Whitesell was killed afte

Mendez has no criminal record in South Carolina, according to the State Law Enforcement Division records.

One neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said she was shocked when she heard the news. She said she didn’t know Mendez well, but would always wave and say hi in passing.

“He didn’t act like something was off,” she said.

Another neighbor, Katherin Phillips, said Mendez seemed normal.

“That’s just scary,” she said. “There’s crazy people everywhere.”

Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068

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