New York

FDNY Firefighter Killed by Road Rage Suspect Laid to Rest

Faizal Coto had been with the FDNY for three years, the department said

What to Know

  • An off-duty firefighter who was found lying on the shoulder of a New York City highway with head trauma has died
  • Faizal Coto, 33, was found lying next to a vehicle on the shoulder of the Belt Parkway early Sunday morning
  • Coto was taken to Coney Island Hospital with head trauma, where he was pronounced dead; a Latin Kings member has been arrested in his death

The FDNY firefighter allegedly killed by a road rage suspect was laid to rest at his funeral on Thursday. 

The line of FDNY uniforms stretched more than four blocks long at the funeral for 33-year-old Faizal Coto at Leone Funeral Home in Brooklyn Thursday morning.

His family stoically accepted a remembrance, his heartbroken mother tenderly receiving the helmet her son will never wear again.

"I was at the hospital when she came, and broke the news to her," said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. "She just didn't want to believe. I can't imagine the pain she was in that night."  

Coto was found dead, lying on the shoulder of Belt Parkway, near Bay 8th Street and Shore Parkway in Bath Beach, with head trauma early Sunday. Police said he was the victim of road rage.

Two vehicles had collided as they merged onto the parkway, police said.

When officers got to the scene, they Coto lying next to a 2008 Ford Mustang parked on the right shoulder of the highway. The other vehicle had left.

Police believe Coto got out of his car to talk to another driver after the fender bender, then that driver struck him in the head with an unknown object.

The suspect, 29-year-old Joseph Desmond, is a Latin Kings member who served time in prison for a hate-crime assault, the NYPD said. He was arrested at a New Jersey motel on Monday.

Coto had been with the FDNY for three years, the department said. He was assigned to a Coney Island engine company.

Coto's best friend and two brothers eulogized him as a loving individual with a big heart. Nigro described Coto as a nice young man who was senselessly murdered. 

"Our hearts go out to everyone, his mom, his dad, his two brothers and everyone in the Coto family," he said. "May God give them comfort." 

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