A Pennsylvania man was punched after asking a man a simple question on a walk with his fiancée and their dog.
Drew Justice and his fiancée, Kristi Buchholz, were walking their Shih Tzu in Gold Star Park in Philadelphia Saturday evening when they saw a man with his dog unleashed, witnesses told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Justice asked the man to put his dog on a leash and the man became outraged. The man punched Justice in the face and he fell back and hit his head on the pavement, per witnesses. They heard the altercation and called the police.
“I heard the screaming,” Justice’s neighbor, Julie Abruzzese, told NBC10. “But it was already done. He was laying on the ground.”
“Him and his fiancée were ready to get married,” Abruzzese added. “It’s heartbreaking.”
Abruzzese explained how dogs and children commonly visit the park and that there’s been tension recently about safety hazards.
“They’re going to tell you their dog’s friendly,” Abruzzese said. “You don’t know at that moment if a dog’s going to turn. I’ve always said that one day they’re going to bite these children. But here it turned out somebody got killed over a leash.”
According to the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office, Justice died from “blunt trauma injury to the head and ruled his death as a homicide, per the Inquirer. He was a data management programmer and was a valued employee.
“He raked leaves at cleanup days, hung lights for our winter celebration and was always up for firing up the grill to feed volunteers or raise money for the park,” Regan Cooper, chair of the Friends of Gold Star Park group, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Police have not identified a suspect but describe him as an “unknown white male wearing dark clothing.” No arrests have been made.
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