YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - The man accused of shooting and killing a teenage girl inside the landmark Peach Stand Tuesday afternoon was identified by police as 28-year-old Christopher Benjamin Mendez.
Karson Bailey Whitesell, 19 of Rock Hill, was shot just before 4:30 p.m. at the Peach Stand on Highway 160 in Fort Mill, officials say. Whitesell died at the scene, the coroner said.
According to the Fort Mill Police Department, Mendez went into the Peach Stand and shot Whitesell, ultimately killing her. Mendez then reportedly waited at the scene until officers arrived.
Whitesell worked at the Peach Stand as a cashier.
Officers have not said what may have led to the shooting. According to Whitesell's mother, the shooting was random.
Police say the shooting was not a domestic violence incident and was not an armed robbery attempt. Officers said Whitesell and Mendez did not know each other.
"Karson was a beautiful light in this dark world. She had a heart of service and loved God, her family, and friends fiercely," Whisells parents said Wednesday. "Everyone that knew Karson loved her. She will be missed by her family and all of the community. We appreciate your prayers and support during this difficult time."
The Peach Stand released a statement Tuesday night addressing the incident and extending their condolences:
On Wednesday, Ron Edwards, who is the general manager of the Peach Stand, said the company is "devastated by the loss of Karson." Edwards released this statement:
Crime scene tape was placed around the perimeter of the business as emergency crews worked the scene.
The Peach Stand will be closed Wednesday and Thursday, a spokesperson for the business said.
Autopsy and toxicology results are pending, the coroner said.
On Thursday Goodwill, where Mendez worked, released a statement.
Mendez was taken to the Fort Mill Police Department. He was charged with murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. Bond was denied on both charges.
He is being held at the York County Detention Center.