A reputed gang member likely will face murder charges in the death of an off-duty firefighter, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said Wednesday.
Joseph Desmond, who Shea described as a Latin Kings member at a news conference, is facing extradition to New York City in the beating death of Faizal Coto, 33, who was found Sunday outside of his car on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn.
"There are some hurdles" for the NYPD to overcome before Desmond can be sent to New York City, but "evidence is amassing as we speak," of Desmond’s involvement in the homicide, Shea said.
Desmond, 29, was taken into custody Tuesday after being arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service at a motel in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He is being held on a parole warrant at the Middlesex County jail.
Coto, who had been with the FDNY for three years, was beaten with an object and died from blunt force trauma to the head, according to the medical examiner.
“Our firefighter sustained a significant injury to the left side of his head, around the temple area, that ultimately was the strike that caused his demise," Shea said. "We grieve with the FDNY; our hearts go out to them."
Coto had been merging onto the Belt Parkway when his Ford Mustang collided with a 2006 Infiniti G35 as it came off the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. Police have said Coto was beaten after both cars pulled over after the collision.
Shea said the police have recovered the vehicle believed to have been used in the homicide.
“There was a minor accident. … As they came together and then eventually pulled to the side of the road, we believe our firefighter was set on in a very short period of time, struck and then left on the side of the road.”
Desmond previously served time for a hate crime assault and criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to records. He was released on parole in April 2018.
Shea said Desmond has at least three prior arrests in Staten Island and three in Queens.
With Alison Fox