Cold Spring officer shooting: Tom Decker killed while checking on suicidal man

Cold Spring Officer Tom Decker (left) was fatally shot last night, allegedly by Ryan Larson (right).
Cold Spring Officer Tom Decker (left) was fatally shot last night, allegedly by Ryan Larson (right).

Late last night, Cold Spring officer Tom Decker was shot and killed while conducing a welfare check at an apartment above Winner's Sports Bar and Grill.

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Decker, 31, was married and had four young children. During a press conference today, a shaken Cold Spring Police Chief Phil Jones became emotional while talking about his slain colleague, who he described as "the department jokester."

"The community and all of law enforcement will miss Tom Decker," Jones said.

A few details about the circumstances of the shooting were also revealed. According to Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner, law enforcement received a call of concern about Ryan Larson, 34, about 9 p.m. yesterday evening. The call said Larson was potentially suicidal.

"Officers responded to [Larson's] residence, failed to make contact with him," Sanner said. "[They] did return an hour and 45 minutes later trying to make contact. Officer Decker [along with his partner] pulled up, [were] confronted by armed individual, [Decker was] shot twice, and died."

It appears Decker was ambushed by Larson, authorities said. They also confirmed that Cold Spring officers knew Larson.

Authorities declined to provide more specifics since their investigation is ongoing.

Larson was arrested and booked into Stearns County Jail. He's being held on suspicion of second-degree murder.

The St. Cloud Times provides a bit more information about Officer Decker:

The Rev. Cletus Connors of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Cold Spring said he met with the family last night and he has known the officer for years.

"He was a nice young person. Always sincere and the type of guy who always wanted to do what was right. He would give everybody the benefit of the doubt," Connor said.

Decker had been a police officer for Cold Spring and Richmond since 2006. He is Rocori High School graduate.

"I don't know anyone who would command more respect in the town," Connors said.

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