Peter Spencer was a 29 year old immigrant who came from Jamaica to the United States in 2013. He came to live in Pennsylvania with his family. He was living life as a devoted Christian who loved cooking and sharing that love with people all over his community. He was working to get his commercial driver’s license. He also had a thriving personal life with his fiance Carmela, they were both expecting their first baby. He also was close to his family. He was trying to open a restaurant with his mom that served authentic Jamaican food. Peter was surrounded by love through his parents, siblings, loved ones, and friends. His life was tragically cut short due to “Self-defense”. His family reached out to TAAG because of the inconsistency of the story and the lack of response from the police.
On December 12th, 2021 Peter was shot nine times while at a remote hunting camp in Rockland Township. He was invited to the camp by an old co-worker friend from a previous job. The group of friends was around the campfire when District Attorney Shawn White claimed that Peter was on hallucinogenic mushrooms and started acting “Crazy”. The shooter initially said that everyone took mushrooms that night, but toxicology only found mushrooms
In Peter’s blood. This made his story questionable because he lied about being on something that night. Toxicology also found traces of fentanyl in Peter’s blood. The combination of mushrooms and fentanyl can be lethal.
Witnesses claimed that he was firing dozens or rounds from an illegal assault rifle. The report said that the other campers were trying to get away from him, but were ordered at gunpoint to stay. This was when one of Peter’s “friends” shot him nine times with a pistol. The State Police Heritage Affair team (that investigates implicit bias and hate crimes) claimed there was no evidence of a hate crime. DA White described the shooter as a 25 year old white man. The shooter fired 11 rounds in less than 2 seconds. When the police arrived Peter’s body was on the front lawn. Officers also found drugs in the cabin.
The more this situation was investigated more holes were being poked in the story. The shooter had told the police that Peter had shrooms and alcohol in his system. However, the toxicology report came back and no drugs were in his system. This report proved that the shooter was lying about Peter’s state of mind during the incident. The district attorney and police time continually insisted this was a credible investigation even though the toxicology report contradicts the validity of the entire situation. Toxicology is not the only part of the story that does not line up. Peter’s family hired a pathologist, Cyril Wecht claimed the autopsy report showed evidence that Peter was trying to run away from the shooter. During an There also seems that one of the bullets fired is unaccounted for. The bullet was not found in Peter’s body, and did not create an exit wound. A bullet just “disappeared”. The district attorney's office did not respond to any requests for a comment. Paul Jubas, Peter’s civil rights attorney, said the man who shot Peter was involved with a federal investigation for firearm trafficking, something the Venango County District Attorney's office were aware of, and still tried to make Peter the criminal in the situation.
The biggest injustice in how the investigation turned out is that no charges will be filed. The District Attorney said that the shooting was justified in terms of self defense. Contrary to the evidence the DA still claimed"He (Peter) was not ambushed. There were not multiple shooters, there was one and thus far ballistics and the autopsy have confirmed the witness statements from that night,". Peter’s family is still grieving and dealing with trauma they have faced while also trying to achieveJustice for Peter. The family disagrees with the decisions made by the District Attorney’s office. Peter’s family has been seeking more answers for months now. The biggest offense being the authorities have moved on from the case and will not answer their phone calls. Peter’s family have organized rallies in Pittsburgh and will not stop until the police acknowledge their
This is a clear example of a black victim becoming vilified. Peter’s brother Tehilah said “In that sense you kill them twice, both in life and in the media. But we’re not going to let that happen to Peter.” The case has too many inconsistencies for it to have been closed or “solved” so quickly. 5 of the shots aimed at Peter were as he was running away, and after that the shooter shot him several more times. Peters family has had to turn to local activists to be heard and to have some support for their advocacy. Authorities have been ignoring them, and are providing slim to no information.
TAAG and Peter’s family want the police to be more transparent about the case and be more upfront about the information they have. Charges should have been filed due to the evidence that contradicts the story the District Attorney's office was trying to push. Families who go through such pain deserve clear communication and transparency from authorities and offices that should be serving them.