CV NEWS FEED // Police are investigating a suspected armed robbery after beloved 23-year-old Catholic volunteer Ryan Realbuto was shot and killed in Washington, D.C. last week as he walked home through his neighborhood.
On January 18, Realbuto, a volunteer with the Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps, was walking home in his neighborhood from a Holy Hour and young adult social event with two of his friends when a car pulled up to them asking for money. According to NBC Washington News 4, “Police said someone in that car shot Realbuto after he told them he had no money.”
Realbuto’s roommate tried to put pressure on his wound and called 911. Realbuto was transported to a hospital, where he passed away.
Realbuto graduated from St. Bonaventure’s University in New York in 2023. According to Realbuto’s GoFundMe Fundraiser page, he had been working with the Capuchins in D.C. to serve high school students for several months, and “was assigned to Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, a Catholic college-preparatory school just outside D.C. that helps at-risk students in a work-study program.”
The Washington Post reported that Realbuto’s mother Janet explained “that when her son chose to volunteer in D.C., she inquired about crime and determined that the area he was in was ‘a relatively safe location.’”
Brother Stephen Cantwell, a member of the Capuchin order Realbuto served with, said, “We in the friars live in a lot rougher areas than this, so we’re kind of surprised that this is where this happened.”
NBC News 4 noted that “[Realbuto’s neighbor Sara] Almgren said she has ‘never felt unsafe’ or ‘scared’ in the neighborhood.”
Janet Realbuto shared that her family has received an “unbelievable” amount of support from the local community since the tragedy occurred, according to news outlet 13 ABC Wham.
“This shatters our family,” said Janet Realbuto:
It shatters a community. He was all about his family, and he looked up to his older brothers, and they looked out for him. He never had the opportunity to finish it out, never had the opportunity that other people 23 years old get to have in their life, [it] was all robbed and stripped of him. I gain some peace, knowing that Ryan was happy.
Realbuto was “very passionate about doing any sort of community service,” his GoFundMe reads:
He was not motivated by making large sums of money, but instead thrived by being able to help people in need…
Ryan truly did have a caring heart and helping hands. He had a special concern for young people with disabilities and assisted at many Special Olympics events including the State Winter Games in Rochester.
The D.C. police are investigating the crime and are still looking for the person or persons involved in Realbuto’s murder.