Pallbearers wore the gold colors of the Los Angeles Lakers and the name “Alex” on their backs. Mourners signed a jersey of Lakers star Kobe Bryant, Alex DoSouto's favorite player.
Basketball trophies glittered on a table beside DoSouto's casket in St. Peter Church in Dorchester, where his funeral was held Wednesday. In the pews, his teammates cradled basketballs in their arms.
DoSouto, 24, was killed in a shooting last week. A former gang member who had survived a shooting in 2009 and served two years in prison for armed robbery, he was attending Roxbury Community College while starting on the basketball team.
The Rev. Richard Conway, a priest at St. Peter, told mourners that DoSouto had overcome many obstacles to turn his life around and was on a path to a happy, fulfilling life.
“Why did this have to happen?” he asked. “Why do so many people have to live with his loss?”
DoSouto was one of four passengers shot in a car on Harrishof Street in Roxbury Thursday evening. A 24-year-old woman and two men, 22 and 20, were wounded.
Police have not made an arrest in the shootings. A law enforcement official said the victims appeared to have been targeted.
DoSouto and several of his brothers had belonged to a gang called the Cape Verdean Outlaws, which had clashed with rival Cape Verdeans in the area. In 2006, his brother Louis was fatally shot in front of the family’s home. Three years later, DoSouto was shot in the leg.
After getting out of prison in 2012, he had focused on basketball and his studies, those who knew him said. He hoped to win a basketball scholarship to a Division 2 college.
Conway lamented the gun violence that “tears families apart” and forces people to live in fear.
“God didn’t put us here for violence,” Conway said. “We try to turn our thoughts to kindness and live as a community, brothers and sisters living in peace.”
In a tearful eulogy, DoSouto’s sister, Christina, said he had a quick sense of humor and “a genuine smile.”
“He was truly a beautiful person, inside and out,” she said. He had inspired his family and his friends, she said, and would be “deeply and dearly missed.”
Christina DoSouto said her brother “ate, slept, and breathed” basketball and loved being on the court.
“He was a genius when it came to basketball,” she said. At Roxbury Community College, he became a leader to his younger teammates, she said.
Hours before he was killed, he was the first player on the court for basketball practice.
DoSouto leaves his parents, 10 siblings, 10 nieces and nephews, and “many, many friends,” she said.
“We can’t even fathom the pain and hurt,” she said.
Through tears, she read a poem titled “The Final Flight.”
“Perhaps my time seemed all too brief/Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief,” she said, her voice strained.
DoSouto was buried in New Calvary Cemetery in Mattapan.
Before the service, mourners filed slowly into the church, making their way past DoSouto’s open casket. Some stroked his trophies gently. A woman, overcome, sat alone in a stairwell, sobbing.
After carrying the casket to the front of the church, the pallbearers stood by its side. Through the prayers and the hymns, they stayed, unwilling to part.