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Young Catholic volunteer working in DC shot dead in robbery

crime scene

By carl ballou | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 01/25/24

Ryan Realbuto, 23, had moved to the US Capitol to work with the Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps to aid underserved communities.
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A 23-year-old recent college graduate from upstate New York, who was living in Washington DC for volunteer work, was killed in an attempted robbery on Thursday, January 18, 2024. Police are offering a $25,000 reward for information that would lead to the arrest of the assailant, who has yet to be identified and is still at large. 

The New York Post reports that Ryan Realbuto was walking home with two friends when the trio was approached by a car. An armed suspect exited the vehicle and demanded money, but when no cash was produced, the assailant shot Ryan and fled the scene. Realbuto’s friend tried to stop the bleeding while first responders arrived; he was then rushed to the hospital, but emergency surgery was not able to save the young man. 

Ryan’s aunt, Lynn Fenicchia, has launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for the unexpected medical costs from the hospital’s attempt to save him, ambulance fees, transportation of Ryan’s remains back to New York, legal fees, and funeral costs. Of Ryan’s life, she wrote: 

“Ryan had a gentle soul and was a kind human being filled with nothing but innocence. Our hearts are completely broken by this devastating loss. All that Ryan was trying to do was help people and his precious life was taken by senseless violence. Ryan was too good and unique a human being to be remembered for the pain left by his absence.”

Lynn went on to explain that Ryan had just graduated cum laude from St. Bonaventure University in 2023. After graduation, rather than jumping right into the workforce, Ryan moved to Washington DC to join the Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps. The program places volunteers in underserved communities, while teaching them to live simply on small stipends while living in a communal home. Ryan was assigned to Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, where he aided at-risk students in a work-study program.

In just four days, the GoFundMe has raised some $137,000 of its $150,000 goal. Those who are interested in contributing can do so, while learning more about Ryan Realbuto’s life, by clicking here.

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