A Philadelphia man was killed after he was punched in the head after he got into an argument with another man over his pit bull.
Drew Justice, 38, and his fiancee Kristi Buchholz were walking their Shih Tzu at Gold Star Park on Jan. 5 when they came across a man with a pit bull which was reportedly running free.
I don't know if words can explain what I am thinking of right now. But what I will say, is that a senseless act of violence has taken the life of my wife's cousin Drew Justice. pic.twitter.com/42zYPONLAB
— Mike Maxwell (@MikeMax625) January 8, 2019
Locals said the dog was a pit bull. “He was scared,” Anthony Barosso of South Philadelphia told NBC10. “It was a pit bull opposed to two little puppies.”
After being punched, Justice fell backward and hit his head on the pavement, witnesses recalled.
They called the police following the commotion, and he was rushed to a nearby hospital.
However, medical staff at Jefferson University Hospital pronounced Justice dead at 9:51 p.m.
“I heard the screaming,” Justice’s neighbor, Julie Abruzzese, told NBC10 about the incident. “But it was already done. He was laying on the ground.”
She said he and his fiancee were “ready to get married,” describing the death as “heartbreaking.”
Both dogs and children frequent the park, she added.
“They’re going to tell you their dog’s friendly,” Abruzzese was quoted as saying.
But, she added that “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.”
A man died from his injuries after he was punched by another man during an argument at a South Philadelphia dog park Saturday night. Police continue to search for the suspect.
The Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office revealed his cause of death, saying it was “blunt impact trauma injury to the head.” It ruled his death as a homicide, the Inquirer reported.
Justice worked as a data management programmer, and locals said he was involved in the community.
“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, head of the Friends of Gold Star Park group, told the Inquirer.
A man killed in front of his fiancé over an argument about an unleashed dog has been identified as 38-year-old Drew Justice. https://t.co/iWGIZhbLHQ
— CBS Philly (@CBSPhilly) January 7, 2019
A suspect in the case has not yet been identified.
No arrests have been made.
The suspect was described as an “unknown white male wearing dark clothing,” according to police.
According to a post on the Gold Star Park Facebook page, dogs are required to be kept on a leash at all times. Anyone with information on the fatal assault is urged to call Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS.
‘Most Abused Dogs on Earth’
Animal rights group PETA has said that pit bulls are “the most abused dogs on Earth.”
“Pit bulls are left at shelters in record numbers—and since they are difficult to adopt out, reputable shelters (that don’t slam the door in the dogs’ faces) are finding that they must euthanize more pit bulls and pit bull mixes than all other dogs combined,” the group said.
Karen Delise, research director for the National Canine Research Council and author of “The Pitbull Placebo,” has investigated hundreds of dog bite incidents.
She wrote in a now-taken down article: “My study of dog bite-related fatalities occurring over the past five decades has identified the poor ownership/management practices involved in the overwhelming majority of these incidents: owners obtaining dogs, and maintaining them as resident dogs outside of regular, positive human interaction, often for negative functions (i.e. guarding/protection, fighting, intimidation/status).”