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Friend charged with shooting App State student

Posted November 23, 2009

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— Boone police charged a man with manslaughter Monday in the weekend shooting of an Appalachian State student.

Gaylen Elijah Ruble, 20, told investigators that he intended to startle friend Jay Franklin Derby, 19, by firing a percussion cap at him.

Ruble said he did not know the gun was loaded.

Paramedics said Derby was dead when they arrived at the Appalachian South Apartments on Faculty Street around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Ruble was held on a charge of involuntary manslaughter with a bond of $10,000. He is due in court Dec 15.


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  • FromClayton Nov 24, 2009


  • kellyaustin96 Nov 24, 2009

    If a young person is reading this, if you are going to pull a practical joke never use a gun as a prop! During my lifetime I have read too many stories about people being killed with "supposedly" unloaded firearms.

  • devilblue Nov 24, 2009

    WOW-What a really bad decision if this was a prank. So sad.

  • tarheelblue919 Nov 24, 2009

    when it comes to a gun it needs to be put away. a gun is not meant for jokes, fun or games...period.

  • NCSU2004 Nov 24, 2009

    Sad situation for both families.

    Makes me wonder if it was really an accident. He's old enough to know better.

  • RonnieR Nov 24, 2009

    The article doesn't say it was a muzzle loader. Caps are also used in cap and ball revolvers and some early trap door rifles and carbines. Still a stupid thing to do!

  • itsmyownopinion Nov 24, 2009

    Well said, graceb81. It's a tragedy for both families that could have been avoided. None of us would want to go there.

  • graceb81 Nov 24, 2009

    What a tragedy, prayers are with both families involved. Can't imagine what he must be going through, knowing he shot and killed a friend. Can't imagine what both families are going through with this happening right before the holiday season. Just a tragic event that easily could have been avoided.

  • podtalk Nov 24, 2009

    It was a muzzle loader. He neglected the very first rule of gun safety that is EVERY SINGLE GUN IS LOADED ALWAYS. If people could get this in their head and treat every gun as loaded we wouldn't have accidents like this. What a shame, this young man will never get over or forget this.

  • Tom Morrow Nov 24, 2009

    "A percussion cap?

    Was this a muzzleloader?

    Doesn't add up??"

    yes, it was a single-shot, black powder muzzleloader.