Friends of vet who died in shooting suggest federal case

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COLUMBIA - Friends of a Columbia veteran who died in a May shooting were still asking questions Tuesday about why the man they accuse of killing him isn't behind bars.

"It's gotta go federal," said Mike Francis, who served in the military with Cameron Caruthers.

Caruthers died after he was shot in a home on Dawn Ridge Road in Columbia in May. In the months following, KOMU 8 News did a Target 8 Investigation into the background of the alleged shooter, Ricky Gurley. 

Legal documents and sources who have spoken to KOMU 8 News said Gurley has a history of serial stalking, harassment, and owning guns, which would be illegal, since he is a felon.

"If you can't get arrested by the local police, the ATF should be making an arrest on you because that's a federal offense," Francis said.

It's not clear what happened in the home where Caruthers was shot. At the time of the shooting, Columbia Police Spokesperson Bryana Larimer said, "Boone County Joint Communications received reports of a home invasion with a gun in the 1300 block of Dawn Ridge Road. Upon officers' arrival they located two males inside a residence in the 1300 block. One of the males did suffer a gunshot wound to the lower abdomen area. That individual was transported by emergency medical services to a local hospital with life threatening injuries. The second male subject has been detained for questioning at this time."

Ricky Gurley was released and had not been charged in connection to the shooting as of Tuesday night.

Gurley was convicted of felonious restraint in North Carolina in 1996. He served 4 months behind bars.

"That charge occurred a long time ago," Gurley's lawyer told KOMU 8 News in May. "I know that Mr. Gurley was a bondsman at the time and was working to take into custody someone who had skipped on a bond and that the laws of North Carolina were such that he got in trouble for that."

Gurley touts himself as a private investigator. He has a troubling reputation with people in that business who have spoken with KOMU 8 News. They have accused him of stalking, and threatening their lives and security.

Several people have signed sworn affidavits claiming Gurley owns or has owned several guns. 

Francis accuses the Columbia Police Department of a coverup and mentioned working on other action related to the case. When asked Tuesday if he was planning legal action against the police department, Francis said, "I have no comment on that right now."

"Do you guys have, do you think, grounds for a lawsuit against Columbia Police?" KOMU 8 News asked Francis.

"I have no comment on that right now," Francis repeated.

Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight said Tuesday he is aware of the case, but he could not comment about it because the Columbia Police Department had not referred it to his office. The Columbia Police Department did not return a request for comment on this story.