The family of a man who was fatally shot while on a camping trip with a group of friends in rural Pennsylvania are still searching for answers and have called his death a “modern-day lynching,” NBC News reports.
On December 12, Peter Bernardo Spencer was shot multiple times at a residence in Rockland Township, according to the report of the Pennsylvania State Police.
The fatal shooting took place around 2:30 a.m., and “multiple firearms, ballistic evidence, controlled substances, were seized from the scene,” police said in a statement. After the incident, the Heritage Affairs Section, a network that responds to hate crimes, was contacted.
“The four individuals who were present at the time of the shooting were questioned and released after consultation with the Venango County district attorney,” police said in a statement
Shawn White, the District Attorney of Venango County, said that while he understands the family is asking for more information about the case to be released, his office is committed to conducting a thorough investigation.
“Upon receipts of these reports, the district attorney will review all available information prior to making a charging decision,” the DA’s office statement read.
Spencer’s brother Tehilah, and his fiancée, Carmela King, have been candid in expressing their frustration with the investigative process.
“He was the only Black individual at the campsite and is being portrayed as the aggressor,” King wrote on a GoFundMe account.
Tehilah Spencer said his brother was “MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD!” during a hate crime in a “MODERN DAY LYNCHING” on another GoFundMe account.
Born in Jamaica, Spencer worked in construction and accepted an invitation from a former colleague to attend the camping trip, said the family’s attorney Paul Jubas,.
According to the report, Spencer’s family has requested the authorities release information about his body to Dr. Cyril Wecht who has investigated high-profile cases.
“We’ve only received unacceptable answers that don’t make any sense,” Jubas said. “And they’re now stonewalling us. They are preventing us from having our medical examiner, the best medical examiner in the country, do his work. There is no reason for that.”
Jubas noted that although Wecht has examined Spencer’s body, he’s only seen a few photos from the embalmer and none from the coroner. To reach a proper conclusion in his examination, he would need to see all the photos from the autopsy.
Jubas also stated that most of the wounds appeared to be in Spencer’s back.
“He was shot nine times. We have received that word from both law enforcement and the Venango County coroner,” Jubas said.
Spencer’s mother, Icilda Spencer-Hunter, said she’s trying not to allow the slow speed of the investigation to get the best of her.
“I’m just trying to walk the walk and go through how the system works,” said Spencer’s mother. “He has to get justice. He has to get justice.”