Police ID key witnesses in Galesburg death investigation

Ryan Cole died Saturday following fight at Countryview Apartments

Ryan Cole
An undated courtesy photo of Ryan Cole.


GALESBURG, Mich. (WOOD) — Close friends of a Galesburg man want justice after he died Saturday following a fight.

Quinton Carpenter said he is in disbelief about Ryan Cole’s death. Carpenter said he can’t believe a fight escalated to such an extreme that it killed his close friend of five years.

“He liked to joke around with a lot of people and whatnot, but if you actually knew Ryan, you would know it was just all fun and games and you know nobody really ever took anything serious,” Carpenter told 24 Hour News 8 on Monday.

But he noted Cole wasn’t friends with everyone.

“He had some enemies but not too much. I don’t have too much information about like none of that,” Carpenter said.

The fight happened just after midnight Saturday at Countryview Apartments. The Galesburg Police Department says Cole, 22, was at Apartment 15 hanging out with friends.

Countryview Apartments
Countryview Apartments, where Ryan Cole was involved in a fight. He later died of his injuries. (Feb. 13, 2017)

“The initial information was that there was a fight, that alcohol had been involved,” Detective Russ Richards told 24 Hour News 8 on Monday.

He said Cole was lying outside when police arrived. He did not have a pulse, but officers started CPR and were able to revive him. However, Cole died late that night.

Richards said injuries from the fight led to Cole’s death, but police aren’t yet releasing the precise cause of death. Richards did say there were not any weapons involved. The Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department says Cole’s autopsy is due back in two weeks.

Richards said he has been able to identify key witnesses for whom he had been looking. He had not yet interviewed those witnesses.

No arrests have been made as Richards is still piecing together exactly what led up to the fight.

“There are circumstances … in regards to what led to the fight, who started it, who was the aggressor and those facts … are why I’m trying to find every witness possible,” Richards said.

He did say the fight did not appear to be related to drugs.

A possible suspect whose name Richards did not release was seen Friday evening with Cole getting a pizza and beer.

“A lot of us are kind of angry at this point because like we said, a lot of fingers are pointing towards a person that he was with because they have had problems in the past and threats have been made in the past,” Jessie Nash, one of Cole’s friends, said.

A vigil for Cole is planned at the Countryview Apartments at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Cole’s employer has created a GoFundMe account to help cover funeral costs.