The man accused of fatally shooting Peter Spencer while on a camping trip in rural Pennsylvania last December will not be charged, according to ABC News.
Members of Spencer’s family had previously voiced frustration with the handling of their son’s death by authorities and called it a “modern-day lynching.”
According to ABC News, Shawn White, the district attorney in the case told reporters, “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.”
He adds that it was his “call” and “I believe it’s the right one.”
From ABC News:
Spencer who is Black, went on a camping trip with a co-worker, who is white, in Rockland Township, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 11, 2021. A few hours after going on the trip, in the early hours of Dec. 12, Pennsylvania State Police were called to the scene and Spencer was found on the front lawn of the rural cabin with nine bullet wounds in his body, including six in his chest.
White said Spencer was using hallucinogenic mushrooms and started “acting crazy” as he fired multiple rounds from an AK-47 he had brought with him. White said Spencer was “not ambushed” and that he began firing the gun and ordered other campers to stay at gunpoint. Spencer’s co-worker then shot him.
Police said they found multiple firearms, “ballistic evidence” and controlled substances at the cabin.
The case was brought to the Heritage Affairs Team, which investigates hate crimes, but Corp. Aaron Allen, the liaison for the office, said he also will not be bringing charges.
According to ABC News, Allen said, “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.”
But, although disappointed by the decision to not file any charges, the Spencer family said they do not plan to give up.
In a statement from the family’s attorney Paul Jubas, the family said, “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.”
But even though there will be no state charges, there can still be federal hate crime charges brought, according to ABC News.