Waterhouse native a victim of ‘modern day lynching’ in the USA
When Peter Spencer left the gritty inner-city community of Waterhouse in St Andrew in 2013 to join his family in Pennsylvania in the United States of America, he had dreams of owning a trucking company.
He appeared to be one step closer to realising that dream after he aced his driving test and became the holder of a commercial driver's licence in December 11, 2021. But he was robbed of putting his new licence to use after being viciously murdered in Venango County, Pennsylvania. His family is convinced that it was a hate crime.
"He was slaughtered and killed in what I consider an act of modern day lynching," his sister, Tehilah Spencer, said in a GoFundMe campaign.
The campaign has been established to raise funds for legal fees as the family intends to pursue litigation into Peter's death.
"We hired a private investigator and have done our own private autopsy. We just want to get justice for him as soon as possible. We have a lawyer retained because no charges have been filed and they already let the person [of interest] out of custody and that's what we have to make sure, that we get justice for him," said Peter's younger brother, Taylor.
The campaign, which was launched on December 14 last year, has raised more than US$12,600. The goal is US$20,000.
His mother, Icilda Spencer-Hunter, told THE STAR via telephone yesterday that she has been shaken by the incident, that has been described as "an act of domestic terrorism".
She said that the last conversation she had with her third eldest son was him sharing the news of his great feat.
"The Saturday morning, he called about 10 and he said 'Mom! I passed it, I passed it!' And he was going on like. He said 'You got to do it too, Mom, I'm going to teach you, I'm going to teach all of you guys where to go and what to do' because he has the books and he is going to teach us how to do the CDL. I said 'Okay, we'll talk later when I leave from work'," she said.
Hours later, the sense of pride that Spencer-Hunter had quickly gave way to heartbreak after the family was greeted by state troopers who informed them of Peter's death.
It is reported that a Jamaican immigrant was found dead in a cabin where he was staying in Venango County, Pennsylvania. Police said that the body had nine gunshot wounds. He had been invited to a weekend camping trip by a white male co-worker. There were three other persons on the trip.
A 25-year-old man was detained and questioned, as well as three other people, all of whom were released pending further investigation, police said.
Taylor described his elder brother as his protector and a caring, compassionate individual.
"It was rough, obviously, in Waterhouse, Kingston. The rum factory was right next to us -- the Wray and Nephew rum factory -- and it's interesting, because any of the bad stuff that usually happened in Jamaica, I was really oblivious to it. It's like I never really had to experience it because he protected me and he kept me out of doing stuff that regular Jamaicans do like smoke weed and stuff like that. So he was always looking out for me, always trying to watch my back and he gave me the advice that an older brother should," Taylor shared.
The two attended Balmagie Primary together. Peter got his secondary education at St Andrew Technical High School.
His mother said that Peter was a loving man.
"He always said he loved me. He has a way of whenever he comes into the house, he would always say 'Madre!' instead of saying 'Momma' and he called his stepfather 'Jojo'. When he was a child, he was a very active child and he would do some things that made you laugh, so from birth, he had this laughter that is very contagious and would always catch you, no matter how sad or mad you may be, he makes you laugh. That's the thing about him and even now, with this horrible death, all I can see is his smiling face and that is one of the things that keeps me going," Spencer-Hunter said.
Peter was determined to help his mother open her Jamaican-style restaurant in Pittsburgh. The duo dedicated Friday evenings to serving 'yard-style dishes' to their community, and he always ensured that the leftovers were donated to the homeless.