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Man is arrested five days after 'he killed a data programmer with a single punch' during an argument after he was asked to put his pit bull on a leash

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 1/11/2019 Dailymail.com Reporter and Megan Sheets For Dailymail.com

a person standing in front of a building: Drew Justice, 38 and his fiancée Kristi Buchholz (above) were walking their black Shih Tzu at Gold Star Park when the data programmer confronted the man about not having his pit bull on a leash 

Drew Justice, 38 and his fiancée Kristi Buchholz (above) were walking their black Shih Tzu at Gold Star Park when the data programmer confronted the man about not having his pit bull on a leash 
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Philadelphia police have charged a man with involuntary manslaughter after he punched a fellow dog walker who fell to the ground and smashed his head- and ultimately died from the impact.   

Matthew Oropeza, 24, turned himself into the police on Thursday. Police say he punched Drew Justice, 38, Saturday night around 9.15pm during an argument in which Oropeza was asked to put his pit bull on a leash because Justice was concerned for the safety of his little Shih Tzu. 

Police say he punched Justice in the face, causing him to fall backward and hit his head on the ground. After Justice hit the ground, Oropeza bolted from the scene.  

Justice was with his fiancée Kristi Buchholz and were walking their black Shih Tzu at Gold Star Park when they came across Oropeza whose pet pit bull was running free and the argument ensued.  

Things escalated to the point that the man punched Justice, causing him to fall backward and hit his head on the concrete sidewalk.  

The suspect fled the scene on foot as witnesses rushed in to help Justice.  

Police were dispatched to the scene after a neighbor reported hearing someone screaming in the park following the assault. 

When officers arrived, they found Justice laying on the ground unconscious as another person administered CPR.  

The victim was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead soon after.  His death was officially ruled a homicide on Tuesday.   

Witnesses said they don't believe the Oropeza intended to kill Justice, but said it was inexcusable that he ran off immediately after striking him. 

Multiple people tried to resuscitate the victim, but the medical examiner determined he died instantly of 'blunt impact trauma injury to the head'. 

Justice's neighbor Julie Abruzzese told NBC10: 'I heard the screaming. But it was already done. He was laying on the ground.' 

'Him and his fiancée were ready to get married. It's heartbreaking.'

a group of people posing for the camera: Bucholz has not spoken publicly since her fiance's sudden and tragic passing. One neighbor said: '[Justice] and his fiancée were ready to get married. It's heartbreaking'

Bucholz has not spoken publicly since her fiance's sudden and tragic passing. One neighbor said: '[Justice] and his fiancée were ready to get married. It's heartbreaking'
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Justice and Bucholz lived across the street from the park and were described as 'enthusiastic' members of the community, according to Regan Cooper, chair of the Friends of Gold Star Park group.

Cooper said in a statement: '[Justice] 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.

'He will be greatly missed.'

Bucholz has not spoken publicly since her fiance's death.  

According to a post on the Gold Star Park Facebook page, dogs are required to be kept on a leash at all times.   

Oropeza is facing the charges of involuntary manslaughter, simple assault and reckless endangerment of another person.  

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