Easy-Way co-owner found dead in distribution center - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Easy-Way co-owner found dead in distribution center

Police say Carter showed up to work at the Easy-Way Distribution Center at 4545 South Mendenhall Road before dawn on Monday. Police say Carter showed up to work at the Easy-Way Distribution Center at 4545 South Mendenhall Road before dawn on Monday.
As Memphis police officers worked the scene Monday morning, dozens of employees, friends, and family members showed up sharing long and sorrowful hugs. As Memphis police officers worked the scene Monday morning, dozens of employees, friends, and family members showed up sharing long and sorrowful hugs.
Co-workers identify the victim as David Carter, who co-owns Easy-Way Food Stores with his brother. Co-workers identify the victim as David Carter, who co-owns Easy-Way Food Stores with his brother.
This is photo of David Carter (right) aboard the retro-fitted MATA bus. This is photo of David Carter (right) aboard the retro-fitted MATA bus.

**Please note: This story was written before investigators determined Easy-Way co-owner David Carter's death was a suicide**

(WMC-TV) - Employees of an 82-year-old local grocery business are mourning the loss of one of the company owners after he was reportedly shot and killed during an apparent robbery at a store distribution center.

Co-workers identify the victim as David Carter, who co-owns Easy-Way Food Stores with his brother.

Police say Carter showed up to work at the Easy-Way Distribution Center at 4545 South Mendenhall Road before dawn on Monday. Investigators believe the robber was already there waiting for him, followed him inside, and shot and killed him during the course of a robbery.

"When he got out of the car, it appears he went inside the business and was approached by an unknown individual or individuals ... It appears he was robbed and shot at the time," said Memphis Police Department Colonel Mike Ryall.

As Memphis police officers worked the scene Monday morning, dozens of employees, friends, and family members showed up sharing long and sorrowful hugs.

"You know, that tore me up," said Stanley Taylor, a longtime Easy-Way truck driver. "I've been knowing these guys since I was 18, 19 years old. It tore me up. Stuff like this shouldn't happen to people. I know stuff like this happens every day, but when it hits close to home it's different, like this is home for me."

Taylor, among others at Easy-Way, just want the person responsible to be brought to justice.

Aside from being respected in the business community, Carter was a driving force behind a project to provide fresh produce to needy neighborhoods with limited access to fresh food.

The Green Machine is a retro-fitted bus packed with produce provided by Easy-Way. It is kept at distribution center where Carter was murdered.

"You know, we're just sick over it," said St. Patrick Church parishioner Ken Reardon. "Every morning, virtually, since July 22, Monday through Friday, David Carter and his son hand-stocked this bus."

Reardon says Carter and his company did it without capitalizing on the positive publicity.

"I think what his passion was, coming through the family, was to provide the best food for people who in our city have had a hard time accessing it," said Reardon. "Our hearts go out to his family."

David Carter leaves behind a wife, DeSoto County Justice Court Judge Karen Sanders, children, and multiple grandchildren along with his extended family at Easy-Way and longtime customers.

Easy-Way Produce sent the below statement via Twitter Monday afternoon:

"Thank you for all the condolences. The Easy Way family is devastated & we appreciate all thoughts & prayers during this difficult time."

The family-owned store opened in downtown Memphis in 1932.

Memphis police say they have not made any arrests as of Monday. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH or go to the Crime Stoppers website here: http://memphis.crimestoppersweb.com/

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.  

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