NEW YORK — An off-duty New York City firefighter was killed in a suspected road rage incident in Brooklyn early Sunday. Investigators said the 33-year-old firefighter suffered head trauma and was found lying next to his damaged car.
The other driver was nowhere to be found.
The FDNY told CBS New York that Faizal Coto was a firefighter for the past three years at Engine 245 in Coney Island.
Sources told CBS New York police have not determined the exact cause of Coto's death, but the case is being investigated as a homicide.
Investigators were seen swarming the eastbound side of the Belt Parkway in Bath Beach near Exit 4 just before 5 a.m. after police said Coto was found on the ground with head injuries next to his 2008 Ford Mustang, adding he was hit with some kind of object. The 911 caller said there was a crash, but when police got to the scene the other driver was already gone.
Police are searching for the person who was behind the wheel of a 2006 gray Infinity G35. It has damage on its driver's side and New York plates bearing JEA 2402, according to the NYPD. That person has been labeled a suspect in Faizal's death, according to CBS New York.
The NYPD said the two cars collided while merging onto the highway. Coto and the suspect pulled over to the shoulder. Investigators said that's when Coto was hit in the head with some kind of object and ended up unconscious and unresponsive with severe injuries.
Coto was taken to Coney Island Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Witnesses said detectives were scouring the scene for evidence for hours Sunday.
"I saw it. It looked like a lot of police here. It looked like they were collecting evidence," Bath Beach resident Steven Alengakis said, adding, "I'm really disappointed to hear that something like this happened."
The flag outside Engine 245 was flying at half staff Sunday night as the FDNY community grieves the loss of one of its own.
Coto was also an aspiring rapper and hip hop artist performing under the name FAIYA, according to CBS New York.
The NYPD urged anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).