Ryan Stebbins had just moved to Odessa a few months ago to begin working with his brother, before he was shot in the chest during a carjacking in what the Odessa Police Department is calling the first homicide of the year.
Police were first called out to the fatal shooting around 12:45 a.m. Thursday in the 2200 block of Richmond Street, where they found Stebbins, 26, who was transported to Medical Center Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The unknown suspect who shot Stebbins fled the scene that night in Stebbins’ vehicle, which was later found by OPD abandoned around 1:30 a.m. in the 4300 block of Westcliff Road. OPD Spokesman Steve LeSueur said they are not releasing the details of the shooting.
While there are currently no suspects in the investigation, officers charged one man who is considered a person of interest in the investigation: Johnny Ray Aguirre.
Aguirre was caught during a high-speed chase Thursday morning near Kermit Highway and FM 866 after being spotted in a vehicle reported stolen, but not Stebbins’ vehicle.
Investigators spoke with Aguirre, who was then charged with evading arrest with a vehicle, a third-degree felony, unauthorized use of a vehicle, a state jail felony, and had a warrant for his arrest for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, a third-degree felony.
Court records show Aguirre previously pleaded guilty to burglary of a habitation with intent to commit another felony, a first-degree felony, in 2008, and was sentenced to eight years of probation and 480 hours of community service.
Jail records show Aguirre has been in the Ector County Detention Center since Thursday and has a $7,500 bond.
Courtney Stebbins, the victim’s cousin, said Stebbins was an amazing guy who always had a smile on his face.
“He was the life of the party, always so witty, funny and happy,” she said. “I want people to remember Ryan for the great, kind, witty, funny, loving guy he was.”
Stebbins’ friend, April Huff, had known him since high school, and said she hasn’t slept since she first heard the news of her friend, who she would travel across states to go to concerts with, was killed.
“He was always really sweet to everybody,” Huff said. “If he cared about you, he would do anything to keep you happy.”