Boy, 11, finds man's body at Middle River playground


An 11-year-old boy walking his dogs discovered the body of a man yesterday morning in a neighborhood playground in Middle River.

The boy, Jack Powell, said he saw the man's body lying face down under the monkey bars in the playground at the end of Seagate Court. He said he knew the man was dead.

Baltimore County police identified the man as John Joseph Sullivan IV, 19, of the 1600 block of Riverwood Road and said they are investigating the case as an apparent homicide. The medical examiner's office has not ruled on the cause of death.

Sullivan was wearing a leather jacket and black jeans and his wallet and a beer bottle were near him, Powell said.

Rick Willis, 27, of Seagate Court said he was working at his computer when he heard a gunshot about 1 a.m. But he said he did not think anything of it because he has heard four gunshots in the past month.

"No yelling. No popping. Just a single gunshot," Willis said. "I knew it was close."

Two hours later, he heard a couple of men arguing behind his townhouse but did not look to see them.

Mark Knot, property manager for the 300 townhouses surrounding the playground, said the $20,000 playground was built last fall so that "children could have a safe environment." It looks out to Hopkins Creek.

He said his office has worked to make sure residents live in a safe place, adding lighting and helping police when complaints arise "It's frustrating. We've been working very closely with police," Knot said.

Police said they do not know how Sullivan died. They do not have any suspects.

Sullivan's death, if ruled a homicide, would be Baltimore County's ninth this year.

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