Social media users expressed their deep sorrow over young Catholic and recent college graduate Ryan Realbuto's tragic death.
23-year-old Ryan Realbuto was on his way home from Eucharistic adoration when he was shot in an attempted robbery on Jan. 18, 2024, in Washington, D.C.
Realbuto was a recent graduate of St. Bonaventure University and six months into a Capuchin volunteer program based in Washington, D.C.
The National Catholic Register reported:
"Shortly after 10 p.m., in the 5000 block of South Dakota Avenue, Northeast, a car pulled up and a man with a gun jumped out and demanded money. Told the young adults had no cash, the man demanded that Realbuto open his cellphone by entering the passcode."
One of the two male robbers then shot Realbuto in the stomach and he died the following day.
Multiple reports and testimonies said Realbuto was kind, caring, generous, and "an old soul." Social media users also expressed their deep sorrow and condolences on behalf of Realbuto and his family.
The Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps requested prayers in a memorial post. They also said Realbuto "found community" and "was so happy" volunteering in their program.
"The Cap Corps community asks for your prayers as we mourn the loss of DC Volunteer Ryan Realbuto, who was killed Thursday night. We ask for your prayers for Ryan, his family, and the Cap Corps community," the Corps posted.
Many users responded with great sorrow.
Friar Rick Riccioli of Most Holy Trinity - St. Mary in New York said, "The friars here in Brooklyn are holding you all in prayer."
"So very tragic and heartbreaking, Executive Director of Notre Dame Mission Volunteers Ted Miles added. "All of us at Notre Dame Mission Volunteers hold Ryan, his loved ones, and the Cap Corps community in our hearts and in our prayers."
Crossway Montessori Communities CEO Kathleen Guinan added her "deepest sympathies."
"With deepest sympathies to Ryan’s family and John Bosco Christo Rey community," Guinan wrote. "Please know that our hearts are broken that we have lost such a talented, wonderful young man who was serving the needs of young people in our community. May his energy be transformational to all of us."
Facebook user Julia Hagerty also responded to the Capuchins' post.
"Praying for all who loved Ryan," Hagerty said. "What a tragic way for life to end."
St. Bonaventure University also remembered the recent graduate in a memorial post. They will hold a candlelight vigil to celebrate his life on Thurs., Jan. 25.
"So awful," Facebook user Janet Lang Connolly wrote. "My heart breaks for this family along with everyone who knew Ryan and those touched by his life. Sending thoughts and prayers."
"Heartbreaking," Facebook user Ann Margaret responded. "We will be praying for all who loved him. May his soul be with Christ and His angels."
X (Formerly Twitter) users responded with prayers and condolences as well.
Annette Jals lamented his family's loss, but also found great comfort in reading about Realbuto's holy life.
"I'm left with the deep impression that even though his life was shortened by violence, it was certainly a life well-lived, and one to be imitated by others," Jals said. "Being murdered on the way home from Holy Hour at his Catholic church will have provided many graces for his journey Home."
Katie Glenn Daniel, the state policy director for SBA Pro-Life America, also hopes Realbuto's last evening surrounded by "the presence of his Savior" brings "some small comfort."
"Heartbroken for the Realbuto family," Daniel posted. "I hope it brings some small comfort that he spent his last evening on earth surrounded by the Immaculate Conception community in the presence of his Savior. May Ryan’s soul rest peacefully in his heavenly home."
The Cap Corps community set up a memorial fund, along with a meal train. Realbuto's aunt also set up a GoFundMe page.
"Eternal rest grant unto Ryan, O Lord. And let the perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."