Did murdered priest die helping people?

October 7, 2008 3:21:15 PM PDT
A Brazilian priest murdered in Brooklyn may have been a victim of his own calling. The body of 31-year-old Ricarco Jose Ferreira de Souza was found strangled on Brighton Beach last week. Friends say he was dedicated to helping others, and they want to find his killers. De Souza was found Monday, September 29, just after midnight, at Brighton 4th Street and Riegelman Boardwalk. Police in the area were alerted to a body in the water by a passerby.

The priest was known for helping fellow Brazilians with immigration paperwork. Friends say he also aided homeless people.

"Jose was a kind, caring person," 39-year-old parishioner Edward K. told The Daily News. "I think his giving contributed to his downfall...He over-extended himself. Sometimes people take goodness for weakness."

De Souza had reportedly lived in the United States for about 10 years. He may have gotten mixed up with drunken thugs who regularly hang out on the Brighton Beach Boardwalk, according to the newspaper.

The Daily News reports witnesses saw two or three men beating a man who fit the victim's description the night of the murder.

"He wasn't retaliating," an unidentified witness told the paper. "They dragged him over the rails onto the beach, and that was the last I saw of him."

De Souza's body was reportedly found about an hour later, wearing only his shirt and socks.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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