Father of Karson Whitesell pushes for change in SC gun laws with focus on mental health


FORT MILL, S.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wednesday marks one year since the deadly Peach Stand shooting in Fort Mill. Karson Whitesell was shot and killed at random while working at the store. 

Karson’s father now wants South Carolina gun laws changed.

The suspect, Christopher Mendez, pleaded guilty to Karson’s murder and was sentenced to life in prison in December 2018. 

Just seven months before Karson was shot and killed, officials said Mendez went to the ER telling doctors he was worried he was going to kill himself or kill someone else. 

He was admitted to the hospital but was released just nine days later. Karson’s father is now pushing for a law that would require doctors to report mental health issues to a database for gun sellers. 

“We don’t need to lose any more lives because we’re too scared to look into mental health or address mental health,” Whitesell said to FOX 46 Charlotte. 

The solicitor said the only thing that would have stopped Mendez from getting a gun would have been if a judge had committed him to a mental health facility. 

Wednesday, Jan. 23 is certainly an emotional day for Karson’s family and friends. They will be holding a prayer service today that will be taking place at 6:30 p.m. at Illumine Church. 

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