Eric Thomes killed himself in connection with Officer Decker slaying; murder weapon found
Eric Thomes (pictured) is "a person of interest" in the killing of Officer Tom Decker, but authorities aren't yet ready to conclude he was the triggerman.
At a press conference this afternoon, investigators identified Eric Thomes as the man who killed himself Wednesday night when investigators showed up at his rural Cold Spring house to re-interview him about the murder of Officer Tom Decker.
After Thomes killed himself, investigators found the 20-gauge shotgun used to kill Decker in a property Thomes had access to, Wade Setter of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said.
Setter gave the following account of what happened Wednesday.
Just after 2 p.m., investigators showed up at Thomes' home. Though they'd already interviewed him, they wanted to speak to him again after receiving a tip and after noticing that some of the information Thomes gave during an earlier interview was inconsistent.
When the agents approached his house, Thomes fled into a shed and refused to come out. Authorities told him they were there just to talk to him, not to arrest him. Just before 7 p.m., investigators broke into the shed and found Thomes dead. He hung himself.
Subsequent investigating turned up the 20-gauge shotgun used to kill Officer Decker at a different property. Investigators wouldn't say whether Thomes was the owner, but did say he had access to wherever the gun was found.
All of that being said, investigators aren't ready to conclude Thomes is the man who killed Decker. In fact, asked if today's news means Ryan Larson's name has been cleared, Setter said "We have not excluded anyone as a suspect in this case."
Setter said it's imperative authorities receive tips that can help them "reconstruct the activities and conduct of Eric Thomes over the last six or seven weeks."
"We need to find out where's he's been, who he has been talking to," Setter said, adding that authorities are "a long way from concluding" the investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Stearns County Sheriff's Office.
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