Brother of fatal shooting victim: “I have a twin, but he died. I never thought I would have to say that.”
As twin brothers, raised in a single-parent home with three other siblings, Alec and Eric Spencer dreamed of escaping their impoverished circumstances someday.
At Carver High School, they played football under the legendary Coach Dell McGee, expecting to eventually play Division I football.
When those plans fizzled, they turned to music, hoping to achieve success as rappers and entrepreneurs.
That was before Alec, 24, was killed Easter Sunday in a triple shooting at a private club called Night Life, located at 480 Andrews Road. Officials say the establishment is an unlicensed club that features exotic dancers.
Now, Eric mourns the loss of his brother, as well as his potential for greatness.
“I never expected this; never in my life did I think I would have to bury my twin brother,” he said Friday during an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer. “... I just thought I would never lose Alec. ... Nobody would ever think about killing my brother, not in Columbus. His face card is too good. I guess I was wrong.
“... The dude who killed him, I wonder if he knows he took a father away from three kids, a son away from a mother, a brother away from a twin, an older brother away from other siblings,” he said. “... You know, it hit a lot of people. They all know my brother didn’t deserve this how he went out.”
Before the shooting, Eric and Alec were at a studio making plans for their music career, Eric said. He dropped off Alec at the nightclub, where he worked security, and then went home to get some rest.
Looking at his brother’s face, Eric said he could see the fatigue. He asked him if he was OK, and he said he just needed some rest. He expected to see Alec home sleeping in his bed later that morning.
About two hours later, Eric got a call from one of Alec’s friends. She screamed in the phone.
“There’s been a shooting,” she said. “And Alec is missing.”
Police were called to the scene at 3:56 a.m. April 1, according to officials. Fifty minutes later, Alec was pronounced dead at Piedmont Medical Center by the Muscogee County Coroner's Office.
An investigation revealed that an argument inside of the nightclub resulted in shots being fired. The situation escalated out into the parking lot and street, where more shots were fired, police said.
Two others were injured in the shooting. Daniel Pitts was listed in unsatisfactory condition Tuesday morning at Piedmont Medical Center, a spokeswoman said. Darrell Boggans was taken by private vehicle to Piedmont for treatment and his condition was unknown.
Despite several witnesses, police have said they’re having difficulty getting people to talk.
Eric said some witnesses told him his brother was standing outside when the shooting started and he didn’t have anything to do with the altercation.
After the shooting, some people mentioned seeing a picture of his brother on Facebook with a gun, Eric said. But he believes they shouldn’t jump to conclusions.
“... That don’t mean he’s out here shooting people, that don’t mean he’s out here using it,” he said. “That let’s you know he’s protecting himself. ... He does work security.”
Eric told his story at the Lake Oliver Marina, a place he visits regularly to enjoy nature. He said he brought his brother there on occasion to discuss their dreams for the future. He said they had never even been to Disney World as children and hoped to visit the Great Wall of China and Pyramids of Egypt someday.
But, in January, Alec lost his job at the NCR plant in Midland, making it difficult for him to support his three children, said Eric, who still works at the company. That led to him working security at the nightclub.
Eric said he believes his brother — who stood 6-foot-6 and weighed 310 pounds — had difficulty finding jobs because of his size and dark complexion, which some people found threatening. He said it was a stereotype Alec — who was bigger and darker than Eric — encountered all of his life.
“I never had a lot of problems that my brother might have had based on how he looked,” he said. “People look at me. I’m smaller. I look a little more calmed down, I’m not as dark as he was.
“... Leading up to that Sunday, I could see every morning it was weighing on my brother, like, ‘Dang, I got to apply for other jobs,’” he said. “He had child support coming up and we had to pay rent. ... He was in that club to get extra money.”
The twins were born in Queens, N.Y. Their mother moved the family to Columbus when they were about 4 years old. She had attended high school in Columbus as a youth and thought it would be a better environment for her children.
“She didn’t want to see us go out, unfortunately, how my brother went out,” said Eric. “So, that was the whole reason we moved down to Columbus, Georgia.”
The brothers — known as rappers Ero and Alo — loved music growing up, singing in church choirs. Alec had a soprano voice and often sang the lead. Though they wanted to pursue musical careers at an early age, they were encouraged to focus on football because of their physical size.
“... We moved down here to Georgia, and football was big down here in the South,” Eric said. “My mama put us into football young. We’ve been playing since Part I.”
And the fact that they were twins made them desirable athletes.
“You don’t get twins to come around that be this big,” he said. “So it was just instilled in us that we were going to be in the league one day.’”
So, at Carver High School, Eric played left tackle and Alec played right tackle. His number was 50 and Alec’s number was 51.
Eric was always smaller in size than his brother, growing to about 6-feet-4 and 240 pounds. But they were considered a duo to be reckoned with.
In 2012, the year they graduated from high school, the twins were courted by Division I universities, Eric said. But their academic record got in the way.
Though his GPA didn’t show it, Alec made about a 22 on the ACT, but Eric didn’t do as well. He needed at least a 20 to get into some of the schools they wanted to attend, and he didn’t make it.
So the brothers went to Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., hoping to transfer to a Division I school from there. After a month and half, they decided to transfer to Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, thinking it would be a better route to their pro-career.
Eric said he kept up his grades, but Alec fell behind. Alec had a son, and Eric had one on the way. So in the summer of 2013, they came back home to Columbus.
During that time, Alec was one of five men arrested in connection with a gun fight at Primus King Park. He was charged with aggravated assault and spent about four months in jail, Eric said.
In 2014, the brothers returned to Coffeyville, where they stayed until May 2015.
Eric said he was able to get a scholarship, but his brother remained on probation at the college, and couldn’t afford the $6,000 needed for tuition.
In college, they didn’t have a lot of outside support, he said. So they just tried to do things on their own.
“All the other kids got TVs, you know, laptops, and their families would send them money consistently, while me and my brother would be in our room with nothing, just our clothes and our cellphones,” he said.
“People think just because you’re big, and you get scholarships, that stuff don’t happen while you’re in school,” he said. “But a scholarship is not enough to survive off of. They’re just paying for your books. And then the way they run you — practice, film, and only so much time to do homework before you have to get up and start working out for this team. There’s a lot about football that people don’t understand.”
Eric stayed in Kansas on a scholarship for about another year.
“But it was a new coaching staff,” he said. “They liked us, but they already had their mind set on guys coming from bigger, Division I schools.”
The twins tried getting into another junior college, with hopes of finishing up, and then getting into a Division I program. But Alec wasn’t accepted.
So Eric transferred to Fresno City College in California. That separated him from his brother for two years, but they spoke on the phone regularly, he said.
Then last year, Alec contacted Eric about pursuing their dream for music. He said there was a company in Atlanta paying $10 an hour with the possibility of $18 an hour after 60 days.
The brothers thought it would be a great way to fund their music projects. So Eric came back to Columbus in May to interview for the job.
“We were focused on football for a long time and eventually we were just like, ‘You know, football is not working for us,’” he said. “We know we don’t want to work for nobody. We’re just going to have to work and record, because my brother was really talented. He was a great singer.”
The Atlanta company didn’t hire them. So they began working at the NCR packaging plant in Midland. Eric worked as a boxer; Alec worked as a tester. They made $11 an hour, Eric said.
But it was supposed to be temporary, he said. And they hoped to own multiple businesses one day.
Alec thought working at the nightclub would help make those dreams a reality.
Now that he’s gone, Eric says he hopes to honor his memory by working toward that goal.
“I’ll take it one day at a time and live for him every day,” he said. “I want to carry his legacy.”