One of my coworkers told me about this case. He is an acquaintance of the shooter.;path=!news

The killing of a 30-year-old Dale City man on Nov. 24 has been ruled a justifiable shooting, the Prince William Commonwealth's Attorney said Tuesday.

During the investigation police determined that the victim of the fatal shooting, Rodney Cottoms, had gone with a friend to confront the shooter's brother about a previous dispute between Cottoms' friend and the brother, said Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert.

Cottoms and his friend began to beat the shooter when he tried to intervene, according to Ebert.

At some point during the fight, the man being attacked, whose name was not released, fired a gun at Cottoms, Ebert said.

The shooting was determined to be justifiable, Ebert said, because the shooter had reason to "fear death or bodily harm."

Police were responding to a call of a shooting in progress around 2:31 a.m. Nov. 24 when they found Cottoms shot outside a single-family home in the 14300 block of Southgate Court in Dale City, according to Prince William police.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"It's unfortunate they didn't call police earlier," Ebert said. "[It] could have prevented this loss of life."

Cottoms' family did not wish to comment