Authorities said that a co-worker who was accused of fatally shooting Jamaican immigrant Peter Bernardo Spencer nine times while on a camping trip in Pennsylvania last December will not be charged.
According to ABC News, District Attorney Shawn White announced on Tuesday that no charges would be filed against the co-worker.
“We believe in this case that there is enough evidence presented for self-defense that we are not going to be able to overcome our burden and show this was not self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, and for that reason, there will be no charges filed against the suspect in this case,”
“This is my call,” White added. “I believe it’s the right one.”
As News Onyx previously reported, Spencer, 29, went on a camping trip to a cabin in Rockland Township, Pa., with his co-worker and three other men on Dec. 11, 2021. A few hours later, Pennsylvania State Police arrived at the cabin on Dec. 12 at around 2:30 a.m. and found Spencer’s body with multiple gunshot wounds on the front lawn.
The Venango County Coroner concluded that the 29-year-old was shot nine times: one to the mouth, two in his buttocks, and six in his abdomen.
Police said they found multiple firearms, “ballistic evidence,” and controlled substances at the home, ABC News reported.
White said Spencer was reportedly using hallucinogenic mushrooms and started “acting crazy” while firing an AK-47 firearm he had brought on the trip. White also confirmed that Spencer began firing the alleged weapon and ordered the campers to stay at gunpoint. However, he said Spencer “wasn’t ambushed,” and the co-worker shot him in self-defense.
The case was investigated as a hate crime by the Heritage Affairs Team, but Corp. Aaron Allen, the liaison for the office, said he would not bring forth charges.
“We also have been making sure that there isn’t any hate and/or bias detected throughout this investigation, and I can tell you right now that there’s not been any sort of hate and/or bias detected,” Allen said.
After learning no charges would be filed against the alleged shooter, the Spencer family said they’re not going to give up as they demand justice for Spencer’s killing.
“We are not surprised by it. This is the type of behavior we have seen from the PA State Police and Venango County District Attorney from the outset,” Paul Jubas, the attorney for Peter Spencer’s family, said in a statement.
The U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Cindy Chung, could file federal hate crime charges following White’s decision for state charges not to be filed.
“If you want to know from a federal standpoint whether there’s any hate crime, I’m not competent to testify to that or give you an answer,” White said. “That’s her jurisdiction. She’s aware of the facts. Give her office a call.”
The family hired an independent medical examiner, Dr. Cyril Wecht, who used graphic images of the wounds to determine Spencer was hit with “long-distance shots.” “It’s like looking at someone who got hunted down, which is absolutely horrifying,” Wecht said.
Next week, a press conference will be held with the Spencer family alongside Wecht to discuss their next steps.