Friends organize vigil for Army vet killed in shooting

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COLUMBIA - A group of friends was set to hold a vigil Friday night for Cameron Caruthers, the Army veteran who was killed in a north Columbia shooting in May.

Caruthers was inside a house on Dawn Ridge Road, where he had previously been living, when he got involved in an altercation that left him dead on May 22. The other man in the house at the time, Ricky Gurley, was questioned and released, but Caruthers' friends want Gurley arrested.

"This guy is a nuisance to the public," said Mike Francis, a friend of Caruthers' who helped organize the vigil Friday. "He's disgusting!"

Caruthers had been staying at 1304 Dawn Ridge Road on and off with his girlfriend and Gurley, according to Gurley's attorney and Francis. 

Francis said Caruthers was not living at the home on May 22, but he went to the house to get several sentimental items, while having a fight with his girlfriend.

Francis said Caruthers did not force his way into the house, but that his girlfriend, who friends said lived there, let him in. 

That's when Caruthers and Gurley started fighting, according to Francis. He said Gurley brought out a gun and shot Caruthers, who suffered a fatal wound to the abdomen and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Several friends of Caruthers' told KOMU 8 News Gurley should not have had to shoot Gurley. 

But Gurley's lawyer disputes that claim, saying the use of force was justified. 

Caruthers' friends want Gurley arrested. They organized a vigil Friday, to coincide with Caruthers' 29th birthday, to draw attention to the case and remember what they love about their friend. 

"His loyalty," said Michelle Walcott, a friend of Caruthers' who spearheaded the efforts to organize a vigil Friday. "He would do just about anything for the people he cared about. He was so loyal."

"Probably one of the goofiest kids I know," said Andrew Torchia, a friend of Caruthers' who served with him in Iraq. 

Those calling for Gurley's arrest have pointed to a long history of often bizarre, criminal behavior as evidence he poses a public threat.

KOMU 8 News has been investigating Gurley's criminal history since shortly after the shooting on May 22. You can watch a Target 8 investigation into Gurley's past Friday night at 5 and 6 o'clock p.m. on KOMU 8.