PATCHOGUE - Police say a man's body was discovered Saturday afternoon outside of Emanuel Lutheran Church on East Main Street in Patchogue.
Police have identified the body as 65-year-old Nicholas MacQueen. They say it appears he was a "victim of violence," although they have not said how he died.
A parishioner with the church says he found MacQueen surrounded by debris. Witnesses say the body was covered in blood.
Fellow parishioners say MacQueen was a homeless Vietnam veteran who had just been welcomed to their congregation through the church's soup kitchen program. They say he had recently started attending church services.
Denise Norman, principal of the Emanuel Lutheran School that's connected to the church, says police are reviewing surveillance video from the area. She says MacQueen had "taken shelter" outside of the church, but stressed that the school is secure.
Islandia resident David Tennebaum says he knew MacQueen for years. He says he had a 29-year-old daughter, but otherwise lived a rough life.
An autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death. Anyone with information is asked to call Suffolk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.