Barnegat man killed on hunting trip in Berkeley – Asbury Park Press

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Demolition on one of New Jersey’s “saddest” shopping centers began in August 2015. The Beachwood center has been an eyesore in Berkeley Twp. for decades and will be replaced with commercial and residential development. STAFF VIDEO BY BOB BIELK
STAFF VIDEO BY BOB BIELK

BERKELEY – A 26-year-old Barnegat man was shot and killed Saturday while hunting for deer with his father and two friends in a wooded area of the township near what is known locally as Johnson’s Pit, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

A preliminary investigation determined that the victim died from shotgun wounds after one of his friends — a 41-year-old man from Lacey — discharged his weapon in the course of the hunt, said Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office.

After hearing the gunshot blast, the victim’s father immediately attempted to render aid to his dying son, Della Fave said.

The Berkeley Township Police Department and paramedics from the MONOC ambulance service were dispatched to the scene on Locker Street at 8:46 a.m. Saturday, after a 911 call was received, he said.

The identities of the victim and the men involved were not released Saturday night.

The victim was pronounced dead at 9:08 a.m. Saturday by a physician at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center via telemetry transmitted to Newark from the scene, Della Fave said.

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The body of the Barnegat man was then taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River.

The scene and the shotgun were secured by Detectives Matthew Scutti and Ralph Laudicina of the Crime Scene Investigation Unit of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Ocean County Major Crimes Unit Detective John Carroll and John Murphy of the Prosecutor’s Office, along with Berkeley police Detective Joseph Santoro, have been assigned to lead the investigation, Della Fave said.

The woods where the shooting occurred is behind where the Beachwood Shopping Center once stood. Farther back, Johnson’s Pit was used for years in an asphalt-manufacturing operation, and it  is the future site of the Berkeley-Beachwood segment of Ocean County’s Barnegat Branch Trail, a 15.6-mile long rail trail that eventually will  extend from Barnegat to Toms River.

Erik Larsen: 732-682-9359 or elarsen@gannettnj.com 

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