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Benton Harbor man killed in weekend shooting remembered by family

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -

While police continue searching for who took his life, a Benton Harbor man is being remembered by his family.

“A loving, humble, remarkable young man that was taken way, way too early,” said Jeffrey Welch, in a video call from Virginia Tuesday.

It was just before 8 p.m. Friday night, April 7, when shots were fired outside the Salvation Army on Michigan Street in Benton Harbor.

John Conyers – a 30-year-old who was living at the Salvation Army – was hit and later died.

As of Tuesday evening, no arrests had been made, but Benton Harbor Police said the public is not in danger.

“We want that person to understand what they took from this family,” said Welch, in his only interview thus far. “They didn’t take just anybody. They really took a lot out of this family. They took a lot out of our hearts.”

Welch is Conyers’ younger brother.

He and his family are mourning in Virginia.

Conyers grew up there, and in North Carolina, alongside his two brothers and a sister.

“For a while, we’ve been trying to get John to come back home just to get his life back on track,” said Welch. “And he felt like he could do it without coming back home. And right before he passed away, he was doing just that.”

Welch said Conyers moved to Benton Harbor about six months ago from Tampa, Florida.

The family has no ties to Michigan, but Welch said his brother was often motivated to move to new places for work.

ABC57’s Taylor Popielarz confirmed Tuesday that Conyers had been working at Old Europe Cheese in Benton Harbor since October.

“Out of the whole family, he has the biggest smile,” said Welch. “It can, and it will, brighten up the whole room.”

Welch said his brother was a ‘man of many talents.’

He was a star athlete growing up, who loved working on cars and making conversation.

Welch said Conyers sometimes hung out with the wrong crowd, but overall, he kept to himself.

“He was my favorite person in the world, man,” said Welch. “And he will forever be my favorite person in the world. I grew up looking up to him, regardless of how his life turned out, it never changed how much I looked up to him.”

Benton Harbor Police said this murder is not connected to another shooting that happened in Benton Harbor on Saturday.

The Salvation Army said Tuesday it could not comment on an ongoing investigation.

Welch said Conyers’ funeral will be held in Virginia on Saturday. 

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