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Patrick Spencer, 19 -- Shot

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PHILADELPHIA - A single candle flickered in an alley behind a posh Northern Liberties apartment building last night, marking the spot where Patrick Spencer was gunned down over the weekend.

Spencer, 19, was shot in the head and arm about 9:30 p.m. Sunday as he rode a black mountain bike behind the Cigar Factory Condominiums, according to police.

The aspiring chef collapsed in a pool of blood on tiny Orianna Street, several feet away from the brick property on North 4th Street near Girard Avenue that's home to half-million-dollar lofts.

Though responding officers feverishly searched the area for suspects, police said the teen's killer escaped. Investigators said they have no motive for the shooting and noted that the victim had a clean record.

"He was a really good kid," said Tyrone Spencer, Patrick's father, as he blinked back tears yesterday outside the family's home on Hancock Street near Girard Avenue, about three blocks east of the shooting location. "He didn't bother anybody. He had his heart set on becoming a chef."

Spencer said the teen spent last year at the Community College of Philadelphia, studying culinary arts. He opted to take some time off and recently spent his days working at a country club near Norristown, Spencer said. He hoped to return to college soon.

"Patrick didn't hang out a lot. He'd usually sit in his room, playing PlayStation till the middle of the night," said Spencer, 43. "Then he'd go to work the next day."

When he wasn't working, said Patrick's sister, Precious, the teen would try his culinary creations out on his family. After several years of "charred pancakes and steaks," he finally found his groove making breakfast foods.

"His best was breakfast," said Precious, 21. "He did scrambled eggs real good. Our favorite was his cinnamon pancakes."

Patrick's sister said he picked up the cooking bug from his mother, Patricia. He spent most of Sunday shopping with his mother before announcing to his family about 8 p.m. that he was going out.

"Sometimes he would call us when he was out and let us know what he was doing," Spencer said. "But he didn't get that chance Sunday night."

Spencer said that by the time family members learned of the shooting and reached Hahnemann University Hospital, the teen was already brain dead.

"His mother always told him to avoid dark areas and shortcuts," Spencer said, shaking his head.

Spencer wondered why Patrick was riding a mountain bike, noting that the teen didn't own one. "We're still trying to figure out where that came from," Spencer said.

While family members and neighbors wept on Hancock Street last night, Cigar Factory tenants paused to notice a small stuffed-animal memorial on Orianna Street.

"This truly shocked me," said Veronica, a Cigar Factory resident new to Northern Liberties, who declined to give her last name. "I know there's hot spots and cold spots here, but it could have happened to any of us."



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