Dog leash dispute turns deadly at South Philly park

Andrew Kramer
January 07, 2019 - 6:38 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Residents in a South Philadelphia neighborhood are still in shock after a deadly assault at a park over the weekend, one that witnesses say was sparked by an unleashed dog.

Police say a man, who they've now identified as 38-year-old Drew Justice, was walking his dog at Gold Start Park on Wharton Street Saturday night with his girlfriend. That's when they say Justice got into an argument with another man.

"The victim had apparently asked the other person to leash his dog, and was met with a punch in the face," said Rachel Shapiro, who told KYW Newsradio she knows one of the witnesses to this incident.

Police say the punch caused Justice to fall backwards and hit his head on the ground. He later died from his injuries.

"It's not something common in this park at all," said Shapiro of this kind of violence, "and being punched in the face is not something common in the neighborhood."

Residents in a South Philadelphia neighborhood are still in shock after a deadly assault at a park over the weekend, one that witnesses say was sparked by an unleashed dog.
Andrew Kramer/KYW Newsradio

"The fact that it happened is crazy," added Mike Haines, who is a dog walker in the neighborhood and uses this park often. "I've gotten into it with a few people about their dogs being off their leash, I've definitely gotten into yelling matches with people over dog issues, but the fact that it happened over an altercation is shocking."

Police have not made any arrests yet, but say they are questioning a person of interest.

Neighbors have placed bouquets of flowers throughout the park do remember Justice, who lived right across the street.