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Crime News Breaking News

Arrest Reportedly Made In Brutal Killing Of Off-Duty FDNY Firefighter

Joseph Desmond, 29, was released from prison in April after serving nearly four years in prison for an anti-gay hate crime.

By Noah Hurowitz

Authorities have arrested a suspect in the brutal murder of an off-duty FDNY firefighter, who was beaten and left for dead by the side of a Brooklyn highway early Sunday morning, according to multiple reports.

Joseph Desmond, 29, was arrested by a joint team from the NYPD and United States Marshals, who tracked him down to a motel in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, on Monday, the New York Post reports. Desmond had been connected by police to one of two cars involved in the confrontation that left Faizal Coto, 33, dead, according to the Post.

The incident began at about 4:47 a.m. Sunday when Coto, a three-year veteran of the FDNY, was driving east on the Belt Parkway in the southern Brooklyn neighborhood of Bath Beach when he collided with another car as they both merged onto the highway, police told Oxygen.com.

Coto and the other driver then pulled over to the side of the highway and the suspect, now identified by the Post as Desmond, hit Coto over the head with an unknown object before zooming off in a gray or silver 2006 Infiniti G35 Coupe, leaving Coto lying mortally wounded by the side of the road, according to police.

Officers responding to a 911 call about two men fighting found Coto lying next to his car, unconscious and unresponsive, with injuries to his face and head that were not the result of a car crash, police said. Coto was rushed to a nearby hospital, but doctors were unable to save him.

Authorities have not yet charged Desmond with a crime, but he is currently being held in Middlesex County, New Jersey, on charges of being a fugitive from justice in New York, according to ABC 7.

Desmond had been released from prison in New York state in April after serving more than three years for an anti-gay hate crime, according to a spokesman for the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. In that incident, which occurred on Sept. 25, 2012, Desmond attacked a man in Queens with a stun gun after hurling homophobic slurs him, according to the Queens ChronicleDesmond was sentenced in 2014 to between three and a half and four years for the attack, according to DOCCS records.

[Photo: New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision]

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