Parents remember 19-year-old daughter gunned down at The Peach Stand


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19-year-old Karson Whitesell was gunned down during one of her shifts at the popular restaurant, bakery and butcher shop, The Peach Stand, in Fort Mill on Tuesday. Now, her parents are sharing some pretty amazing stories about their daughter. 

“Karson was my only child, and we had a very special bond, and over the past few days, the outpouring of support from the community has helped me in my pain and suffering,” said Karson’s mother, Debbie Whitesell. 

RELATED: 19-year-old Peach Stand employee shot to death, suspect charged with murder

Debbie says she knows exactly where her daughter Karson got her love for mission work. 

“I have a heart of service, and she definitely got that from me,” Debbie said. 

Karson and her mom did a mission trip to Haiti together

“She and I were planning to go back to Africa together, and that’s why I’m still going to go, but this time, she won’t be able to go with me in person, but she’ll be there, she’ll be there.” 

Karson was gunned down while working at the Peach Stand late Tuesday afternoon.

The man charged with killing her, Christopher Benjamin Mendez, didn’t even know her or have a criminal history, according to authorities, who say Mendez waited at the murder scene for them to get there. 

“I haven’t had any anger in the time since she passed away,” Debbie said. 

Karson’s dad, Jason Whitesell, and her mom say they are strengthened by their faith and by people sharing stories about their daughter. 

“We’ve been taught to forgive. Will it be easy? No. Will we be able to? I don’t know, but I will do my best,” Jason said. 

A GoFundMe page has been set up to continue Karson’s mission work, building structures for kids in Africa. 

“Karson was always quick to tell you she was ‘Karson with a K,’ and those structures will be built in Swaziland and it’s my intention to be there when they’re built to dedicate them to her memory.” 

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