APD searching for 2 suspects after man killed, brother hurt

Southport Drive Homicide Memorial

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A robbery at a home in south Austin left one man dead and his brother injured, according to Austin police. 

One of the suspects, Jessica Romero, 37, was taken into custody Monday afternoon. The victim’s friends say Romero knew the brothers.

The only descriptions of the other two suspects are:

  • A heavy set Hispanic male in his later 40s
  • A heavy set Hispanic female in her late 20s

On Sunday, detectives received multiple 911 calls at 12:29 a.m. from the 1200 block of Southport Drive. One caller said his friend had been stabbed.

The victim, Benito Luna-Vargas, 34, was found at the scene and taken to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center where he died from his injuries. Luna-Vargas was pronounced dead at 1:01 a.m. The Travis County Medical Examiner determined the manner of death was homicide.

He was a very outgoing person, said friend Ebeline DeLeon Always happy. Always wanted us together.

Austin police say Luna-Vargas brother was also assaulted at the same time and was taken to the hospital to have his head and face looked at where he had been punched multiple times, according to an affidavit.

Officials believe it started with what they’re calling a disturbance out in the street. According to an affidavit, the suspects first assaulted Benito Luna-Vargas brother as he was sitting in a chair outside their home. They took his wallet and keys and the man threatened him with a knife, but the brother pushed him away, according to an affidavit.

Then, police say the man came inside and punched and stabbed Benito Luna-Vargas after asking him Why did y’all jump my sister? Benito Luna-Vargas had said he didn’t know what the man was talking about, according to an affidavit.

I just know it was for nothing. He didn’t owe nobody anything. He didn’t do anything. He was in his house asleep they came in and took his life, said DeLeon.

Romero is being charged with aggravated robbery. All three suspects could face Capital Murder charges. 

We’re asking anyone to come forward. We understand there were multiple callers who saw something. Again, please call in and report if there was something you saw, said senior Austin police officer Christopher Irwin. APD doesn’t believe there’s any risk to the public.

If you have any information about this incident, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS or text Tip 103 + your message to CRIMES. You can also email APD Homicide at homicide.apd@austintexas.gov.

Vargas’ family has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses.

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