Phillips station

Police are investigating the shooting death of a 19-year-old Benton Township man Tuesday night at the Phillips 66 station on Pipestone Road.

BENTON TOWNSHIP — A 19-year-old Benton Township man was shot and killed Tuesday night in what police are calling a drive-by shooting at the Phillips 66 gas station/convenience store on Pipestone Road, near M-139.

Benton Township Chief of Police Brian Smit said the shooting doesn’t appear to be connected to the looting of the store last week by 20 to 30 teens and young adults, but they are still investigating. The looting was caught on tape and widely circulated on Facebook before it was taken down.

Killed Tuesday in the parking lot was Taj Carter, a customer at the store, who was shot in the chest, Smit said.

Police were called to the station around 11:10 p.m. Tuesday and were told that Carter had already been taken to Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph by a good Samaritan, who arrived after the shooting. However, Carter was pronounced dead after life-saving measures failed, according to a news release from the Benton Township police.

Police said witnesses to the shooting told them a red four-door sedan drove through the parking lot while someone fired shots from the vehicle.

No arrests have been made and no suspects identified.

Anyone with information about the murder is asked to call Benton Township police at 925-1135, or call Crimestoppers at 574-288-STOP or 1-800-342-STOP.

Smit added that no arrests have been made in last week’s looting incident.

Contact:, 932-0361, Twitter: @HPWrege