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Man found dead in Newark park was shot: officials

NEWARK, N.J. — A man with a gunshot wound was found dead in Newark's Vailsburg Park Monday morning, authorities said.

A person was found dead in Vailsburg Park on May 7, 2018. (AIR11)

Neighbors said they heard gunshots at about 2:30 a.m. The man's body was not discovered until someone walking through the park later in the morning called police.

The deceased has been described as a "young man," though no identifying information about him has been released, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

The body has been covered with a sheet near a tree in the 30-acre park. Multiple emergency vehicles, including an ambulance, were called to the scene.  Officials had responded by 8:15 a.m., AIR11 video showed.

Detectives with K-9’s and metal detectors scoured the park for evidence.

Vailsburg Park has been the scene of at least three shootings in the past year.

Neighbors say they heard this shooting in the middle of the night.

"My sister said she heard something around 2:30 this morning. She heard gunshots. She heard one pop. Well a couple pops,” Charles Alston, a man who lives nearby, said. "Anybody in their right mind wouldn’t be in that park this time in the morning. So maybe it was like, possibly premeditated, you know. I don't know. They say there's gangs around here."

Police have not yet identified the victim. His family still needs to be notified.

In December 2017, a 23-year-old Newark man was shot and killed in the park. In June 2017, a man was shot in the back during a robbery as he walked through the park with his girlfriend. That man survived.

Locals told PIX11 that lights in the park do not work, and more cameras and police patrols are needed.

The county announced plans earlier this year to update the playground, basketball court and restrooms.