Saturday, October 21, 2017
Tragic Teen’s Murder Galvanizes Community
By Jason Lewis (Sports Editor)
Published August 5, 2009

Jerry and Penny Hoover (Center) are surrounded by family and friends as they remember the life of their son, Semaj Spencer.

Photo by Jason Lewis

Jason Lewis for Sentinel
Jerry and Penny Hoover (center) are surrounded by family and friends as they remember the life of their son, Semaj Spencer.

By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Staff Writer

Penny and Jerry Hoover have had to deal with a wide range of emotions this past week. Emotions that no parent wants to go through as they lost their 14 year old son in a hit and run accident. A boy who lived life to the fullest.

Semaj Spencer was taken from them in the early morning hours of Sunday after he was hit by a speeding car on Imperial HWY, just east of Crenshaw Blvd.

Spencer was with friends, walking home from a nearby house party. Spencer loved to dance and was always looking forward to the weekend parties.

Not only have the Hoovers had to deal with the pain of losing a child, but they also had to deal with the pain of not knowing who struck him.

After striking the child the driver did not stop the vehicle, dragging him about 50 feet, according to witnesses.

Penny and Jerry pleaded for days for the driver to turn him or herself in, but as they had to cope with their loss, there seemed to be no clues on the whereabouts of the driver.

Their pleads did not fall on deaf ears as authorities were able to find some clues, leading to the suspect to turn himself in at the Inglewood Police Department.

Friends and family gathered at the scene of the accident on Tuesday evening for a candle light vigil. Tears turned into smiles as they remembered Spencer’s fun loving ways. Spencer was a kid that everybody loved and a kid who loved to dance. Many of his friends formed a circle and performed his favorite dances in his honor.

“Semaj loved life,” Aaron Parker said. “He loved to dance, and he loved to party. Everyday he was at my house and he wanted to know where we were going. He was funny, when people were feeling sad he’d always make them laugh. He was just outgoing, he was always smiling.”

Spencer’s other love was building and fixing things.

“Semaj had a very intellectual and mechanical mind,” Jerry said. “He could take things apart and put them back together. I’d always find all my tools under his bed.”

Spencer’s latest project was building his own go-cart. He bought a frame and an engine, that he rebuilt himself.

“I didn’t think that thing would ever work,” Jerry said. “But then one day I saw him rolling up the street.”

Spencer did not need any professional help with his builds, he took pride in doing the work for himself.

“As soon as he got his motor I was like ‘Semaj, lets take it to the mini-bike shop,'” Parker said. “Lets get your gas and your brakes working. He was like ‘Naw man, I don’t need to go to the mini-bike shop, I can do it myself.’ Semaj was the type of guy would barrow my bike to go to the store, and then come back and fix the breaks.”

Spencer was the kid who brightened up everybody’s day. He is an individual that will not only be missed by his family and friends, but the entire Inglewood community.

Categories: Local

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