Philadelphia police on Monday said they had identified the 38-year-old dog walker who died after being punched in a South Philly park, and said they were questioning a “person of interest” in the Saturday night attack.
The victim was Drew Justice, who lived across the street from Gold Star Park, which is bounded by Wharton, Marshall, Manton and Sheridan Streets between Sixth and Seventh Streets, said police spokesperson Jeff Chrusch. He declined to name the person being questioned. No charges have been filed.
The punch-thrower fled the scene, but police searched surveillance videos and questioned witnesses to help inform their search for suspects. They found the person of interest at his home, Chrusch said.
Witnesses told police that Justice and his fiancee were walking their dog shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday at Gold Star Park when Justice asked another dog walker to put a leash on his animal.
The man took offense, police said, and punched Justice in the face. Justice fell backward and hit his head on the ground, police said. Medics took Justice to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 9:51 p.m.
Chrusch said police were awaiting results from the Medical Examiner’s Office on the cause and manner of death. Those are expected to be released Tuesday.
On his LinkedIn page, Justice described himself as a data management programmer at Syneos Health, a multinational firm.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Philadelphia University in 2003.
His fiancee, a lawyer, is listed as a member of the board of directors for the Passyunk Square Civic Association. She is described on the association’s website as being active in organizing events and fund-raising for Gold Star Park.
The couple’s wedding was set for April, according to their online wedding registry page.