Photo: Getty Images
  /  12.30.2021

Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the death of a Jamaican immigrant who was fatally shot nine times while on a hunting trip with a group of white men. According to reports, Peter Spencer was found shot to death at a cabin on Carl’s Road in Rockland Township on Dec. 12.

Chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Black Caucus, William Anderson, who has been in constant communication with Spencer’s family, says his pregnant fiancée dropped him off for the hunting trip the day prior. Spencer had been invited to go hunting with this former co-worker and group of friends before, his fiancée said. However, this time he was “taken directly into the woods and not this person’s mother’s home,” which made her feel uncomfortable, Tim Stevens, CEO of the Black Political Empowerment Project, said.

Spencer’s fiancée received a text message from him saying he was spending the night at the cabin. However, at 2:30 a.m. the next morning, police were called to the residence and he was found dead. A suspect, who was taken into custody, claimed he shot the man in self-defense and multiple guns were found at the scene.

“We are talking six bullets into the chest, two into the buttocks and one — we have a different opinion — either [piercing] through the mouth or from the neck out of the mouth,” Stevens said.

“We can’t help but wonder if there was some racial animosity and if this possibly could be a hate crime,” Stevens added, calling the suspect’s self-defense claim an “unexplainable defense.”

No charges have been filed against the 25-year-old man taken into custody, causing the community and Black Political Empowerment Project to demand answers.

“We demand the immediate investigation of this murder by the Venango County District Attorney, the U.S. Attorney General and the PA State Attorney General,” the organization said in a statement on Monday.

“This is serious and people need to know they can’t do this in Pennsylvania or hopefully anywhere in the nation,” Stevens said. 

“This was a whole family that came to this country seeking a better life and their life is destroyed. It will never be the same,” Anderson added. “This is not America, and I am even further outraged that this is someone that came from another country and was slaughtered, shot nine times.”

On a GoFundMe page, Spencer’s family called his death a “modern day lynching.”

“… This is a hate crime! Peter was murdered in Rockland Township, Pennsylvania in a backwater rural town where he was completely vulnerable and cut off from everything and everyone,” his sibling wrote. “… Peter had planned to go hunting and camping with a white male, who he met at a previous job and was supposed to be his friend!”

On Wednesday (Dec. 29), police issued an updated report about the investigation and said they are still waiting for the autopsy, toxicology, ballistic and lab results. The department’s Heritage Affairs team, which investigates hate crimes, has also joined the case.

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