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Search warrant application sheds light on Columbia shooting

At least one recording of a conversation between two men who were involved in a Columbia shooting exists, according to a search warrant application made by police and the accused shooter’s attorney.

ABC 17 News obtained the application for a search warrant written by Columbia Police Department detectives on May 22 after a deadly shooting on Dawn Ridge Road that day. Police say 28-year-old Cameron Caruthers was killed during a disturbance at a home in the 1300 block. Attorney Stephen Wyse would later confirm that the shooter was Rick Gurley, who claims he shot in self-defense.

CPD’s application sought all phones, laptops and surveillance equipment at the home for review. Officers also sought to seize any weapons or ammunition found in the home. Wyse told ABC 17 News that all electronic equipment had been taken, as well as the gun used in the incident. The application also mentions a hatchet in the living room, which Wyse said may have belonged to Caruthers.

The application also refers to one recorded conversation between Gurley and Caruthers before the deadly confrontation that day.

Caruthers received military honors during his memorial service on May 31. Friends of the Iraq War veteran remembered him as a man that would help anyone in need and wanted justice for him.

Police also spoke to a witness who said, according to the search warrant application, “she and [Caruthers] had gotten into a verbal altercation on the previous night.” Caruthers came back on May 22 to get his belongings and came into the house. Gurley shot Caruthers in the living room, according to the witness statement on the application.

Wyse said it was this witness, who was in a relationship with Caruthers and lived at Gurley’s home, who let Caruthers into the home. Gurley feared for his life when Caruthers came inside and began fighting with the other woman and “turned his attention to him,” Wyse said.

Wyse said at least one conversation between Caruthers and Gurley was recorded on Gurley’s phone. One surveillance camera was also at the front door, but Wyse was not sure if the camera was working on the day of the shooting.

Columbia police did not respond to a request for comment Friday on what they seized or what had been found on the electronics.

Gurley was released from police custody the day of the shooting after he had been questioned. No charges have been filed against Gurley or others.

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