What started as an evening walk with his fiancée and dog ended in tragedy for a Philadelphia man who died after he asked another dog owner to put his dog on a leash, according to police reports obtained by multiple outlets.
On Saturday, Drew Justice, his fiancée and their Shih Tzu went for a walk in Gold Star Park. Witnesses told police Justice was attacked when he asked another dog owner to put a leash on his pet, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
“He was scared” of the dog, resident Anthony Barosso told NBC10.
The owner allegedly punched the 38-year-old in the face in response, forcing him to fall backwards and hit his head, according to local station CBS3, citing police reports.
Justice was taken to a local hospital, the Inquirer reports. He succumbed to his injuries later that night, according to a police news release obtained by PEOPLE. He lived across the street from the South Philadelphia park, according to the Inquirer.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office announced that Justice died of blunt force trauma, the paper reports.
“I just don’t understand why someone would be so filled with rage to hit someone over something so insignificant,” a neighbor told CBS3.
On Monday, his alleged attacker, Matthew Oropeza, 24, was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter, terroristic threats, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person, the news release states.
A witness described the attack to CBS3: “Everything happened quickly. There was no grand argument or dramatic scuffle,” the unidentified woman said. “Just several lives crossing at what has proven to be an irrevocably tragic moment in time.”
It is unclear whether Oropeza has an attorney or has entered a plea.
Those with information regarding the incident are urged to call Philadelphia Police at 215-686-8477.