Suspect nabbed in death of firefighter found on side of Belt Parkway

Faizal Coto was found outside of his car with blunt force trauma to the head.

A man was taken into custody in New Jersey early Tuesday in connection with the beating death of an off-duty firefighter after an apparent auto collision in Brooklyn over the weekend, law enforcement officials said.

Joseph Desmond, 29, was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service a couple of days after 33-year-old Faizal Coto was found dead on the ground outside his Ford Mustang on the Belt Parkway early Sunday, according to a law enforcement source.

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.

Police have said Coto, who had been with the FDNY for three years, appeared to have been beaten with an object. The medical examiner said his death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head. His car had damage to the right side, as well.

Coto had been merging onto the highway when his car collided with a gray or silver 2006 Infiniti G35 as it came off the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge. The Infiniti, which had New York license plate JEA 2402, had damage to the driver’s side door.

Police have said that both cars pulled over after the collision and that’s when Coto appeared to have been beaten. The Infiniti later fled eastbound and appeared to be registered to a known member of the Latin Kings, police said.

It was not immediately clear if the Infinity was registered to Desmond.

On Tuesday, police had blocked off the lower level of the Verrazzano Bridge as they investigated further.

With Nicole Brown

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