Suffolk homicide detectives are investigating the death of a 65-year-old man whose body was found Saturday afternoon near a Patchogue church, police said last night.

The man's body was discovered near Emanuel Lutheran Church, 179 East Main St., at 1:55 p.m., police said. The man, whose name was withheld pending notification of his family, was a "victim of violence," police said.

The county medical examiner will perform an autopsy on the body, police said.

Further details were not available last night.

Parishioner Sunny Eng said he found the body after arriving at the church to help prepare for Sunday services and a weekly soup kitchen.

Eng, 50, of Holtsville, said he noticed some debris, including clothes and bags, outside the church's school building.

Taking a closer look, he said he saw "someone laying down" and immediately called 911. He said it appeared to be a man with short gray hair.

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"I'm just extremely sad over the whole situation," Eng said.