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Timberline Park in Brentwood has a history of violence

Timberline Park, one of few recreation spots in Brentwood, is a neighborhood gem, with baseball diamonds, basketball courts, a playground and a swimming pool. But as a 13-year-old boy lay in critical condition Tuesday night, officials acknowledged that the park has a history of violence.

In 2003, a 32-year-old man was found dead in the park, shot in the torso in a homicide that has not been solved.

And last year, another parkgoer was grazed in the leg by a bullet. On July 24 at 9 p.m., closing time at Timberline, a man fired a gun from Nolin Street, police said.

Witnesses saw the shooter jump into a small light-colored car, but the shooting remains unsolved. Police are revisiting the investigation to see if there is a link to the Monday shooting of Wilson Batista who was struck by a bullet as he played basketball with friends. So far, investigators have found no connection.

Police said there is no evidence the two shootings are linked.

Dan Aug, a spokesman for Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, said the Suffolk police department's Third Precinct gang unit stepped up its presence around the park after last year's incident, which was followed two months later by a fatal shooting at the nearby Central Islip Recreation Center, also operated by Islip Town.

Islip Supervisor Phil Nolan said the town plans to install motion-activated surveillance cameras around Timberline Park.

"We're trying to do everything we can," he said. "We are not backing off our commitment to provide these parks" and make them safe, he said.

After the Central Islip shooting, Nolan said, he requested an additional Suffolk police substation in the area. The police declined. Aug said, "Substations just don't work. They take patrol guys off the street."

Eleven town park rangers and two town sergeants - all unarmed - monitor 199 posts, including public works yards, marinas and 10 town parks. Two or three patrol the entire town each evening, said Islip spokeswoman Amy Basta.

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