Gerke says OPD has cracked Swinney cold case

More than four years after the shooting death of a 42-year-old Odessan, the Odessa Police Department held a Thursday news conference to detail a warrant has been issued in connection to the death of Odessan Brandon Swinney.

Swinney was shot and killed outside of his home on Nov. 21, 2019, in the 1700 block of Dotsy Avenue. Odessa Police Chief Mike Gerke said 55-year-old Roman Aguilar Alvarado was the gunman who killed Swinney, who had just arrived home with his young son from baseball practice.

Gerke said Alvarado is incarcerated in a federal prison on drug charges on a lengthy sentence. Gerke said advancements in forensics helped OPD in the search for the gunman. “We were haunted by this case,” Gerke said. He later added he hopes this arrest brings some closure to Swinney’s family and also helps families waiting for other cold cases to be solved.

Gerke said Alvarado was a suspect for some time and new forensics and the work of Susan Rogers of Crime Stoppers and the Texas Rangers as well as OPD helped close this case.

Gerke took few questions but did say the two men knew each other.

He extended his condolences to the family and said “today’s news shows the Odessa Police Department never gives up.”

At one point the Odessa Crime Stoppers had offered $20,000 for information leading to an arrest.

In 2021, Brandon Swinney’s wife Samantha Swinney and Crimestoppers held a news conference pleading for help from the public.

Previous news accounts show officers reportedly responded to a shots fired call and found Swinney dead and lying outside of his residence. Investigation reportedly showed Swinney had just returned to his residence and exited his vehicle before being shot by an unknown subject, who fled the scene before officers arrived.

Swinney’s young son was able to run away and summon help.

According to Swinney’s obituary, he graduated from Odessa High School in 1995 and then went to Odessa College, Hardin-Simmons University and the University of South Carolina Aiken. He played baseball during high school and in college.