Major crime investigators in Halifax are dealing with a homicide after a man’s body was found near a popular north-end park on Thanksgiving Monday.

Police blocked Africville Road around noon and asked users of the playground and off-leash dog park to leave while officers and K9 units scoured the area.

“Around 12:09 p.m., a woman was walking in the area of Africville Road … she noticed a body in the ditch,” said Halifax Regional Police spokesperson Theresa Rath. “She went down, checked for a pulse, couldn’t find one and then flagged down a vehicle to contact police.”

Patrol officers located the body of a man about halfway between the replica church and container terminal. By early afternoon, police vehicles, personnel and police tape could be seen at the site.

Police immediately treated the death as suspicious, and late Monday evening, confirmed it was a homicide.

The victim has been identified as 24-year-old Matthew Thomas Sudds of Halifax. His body was removed from the scene at 6 p.m. and autopsy was performed Monday night where police say it was determined he was shot to death.

“We are trying to piece together when he died and whether he was killed there or if his body was put there,” Rath said.

Investigators have spoken with the victim’s family, who last saw him on the night of Oct. 10.

Police are asking anyone who happened to see Sudds that night, or who noticed suspicious activity in the area of Africville Road the past few days, to contact them at 490-5020.

Sudds is no stranger to police. In 2012, he was on the Halifax police’s High Risk Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) Outstanding Warrant List for assault and failure to comply with conditions.

A year earlier, he was one of four people reportedly charged with cocaine trafficking after a search took place at a Dartmouth residence.

“We will explore all the possibilities,” Rath said about the victim’s criminal past and whether it played a role in his death.

Messages of condolences have popped up on Sudds’ Facebook page, with many shocked about the young man’s death.

“RIP Matthew Sudds gone but never forgotten .. It’s horrible seeing some leave this world so young,” wrote one post.

“Still shocked and cannot believe this. Your family will be in my heart. Lots of good times! Rest easy,” wrote someone else.

Both Africville Park and Africville Road are closed indefinitely as officers hold the scene. Investigators are expected back on site Tuesday morning to scour the area for evidence. – with files from Ruth Davenport

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