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Family members share memories of West Palm Beach police sergeant killed in car crash

'My brother was a role model since I was little,' sister Damicela Lugo Desouza Ferreira says
Posted at 1:28 AM, Aug 05, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — For the first time, WPTV is hearing from the family of a West Palm Beach police sergeant who died in a car crash last week.

Sgt. Fernando Desouza was the second uncle of WPTV NewsChannel 5 reporter Joel Lopez.

Lopez said the family is still very upset. They picked up Desouza's body from the medical examiner Friday and brought him to the funeral home.

"Son, come back," his mother, Hermith Desouza, said. "He always told me to be strong, but I can't."

Friday marked one week since they got the news of his death.

West Palm Beach police Sgt. Fernando DeSouza

West Palm Beach

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"My brother was a role model since I was little. I always looked up to him," sister Damicela Lugo Desouza Ferreira said. "Last Thursday was the last [time] ... I saw him that night. He cooked for us. I can still hear the conversations we were having."

Fernando was 43 years old when his car crashed along Hypoluxo and Lawrence roads in Boynton Beach.

"The moment I would call him, he would always answer his phone, and I think what's hurting me right now is calling him and him not answering," the deceased officer's younger brother, Aldo Desouza, said.

Aldo said he was called to the scene after the crash.

"Having to deliver that news is what took me back a bit," Aldo Desouza said. "To have to let my brothers and sisters and parents know that our leader, our family's leader who we went to and asked for advice and tried to get questions answered, was no longer there."

Sgt. Fernando Desouza was with the West Palm Beach Police Department for 16 years after serving in the U.S. Army with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He was a decorated veteran and Purple Heart recipient.

"When he went to the military, I signed up myself, but he talked me out of it," Damicela Lugo Desouza Ferreira said. "He said, 'This is not for you. You go to school,' and I always wanted to do everything he did. I always looked up to him. I love him. He was a great guy. That's Fernando."

They said their loved one was a father and had a paternal spirit at heart, referring to just about everyone as "son."

"My brother was, an all-American hero. He was a great father, a great brother, a great son, a great friend, a great partner," Aldo Desouza said. "I feel like that love that he had for us, he spread it out little by little in the community and in this country."

They are now finding strength within their family as they prepare to say one final goodbye.

Family members said multiple agencies and military members have contacted them, sending their condolences.

"I feel like now the West Palm Beach Department has become family and they've embedded themselves in our family. I can't even describe it. They've been wonderful," Aldo Desouza said. "They've been with me the entire way from the moment I received the call and all the way until the end, and I think that relationship will continue in honor of my brother."

Funeral arrangements are in the works and the family has started a GoFundMe page to help with expenses.