Ryan Larson, Cold Spring officer shooting suspect, released: "They have no evidence" [UPDATE]
Larson (right) was arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of Officer Decker (left), but was released from custody this morning.
Today, the Stearns County Attorney's office surprisingly released Ryan Larson, the suspect arrested following last Thursday's fatal shooting of Cold Spring Officer Tom Decker, without charging him with any crimes. Thus far, investigators have been unable to find the murder weapon.
"At this time there is not sufficient documented evidence" to continue to hold Larson, authorities said, according to a WCCO report.
[Stearns County Attorney Janelle] Kendall said they need more than they have right now. Police still haven't found the shotgun that they believe killed Decker Thursday night in what they describe as an ambush.
Monday a judge granted the county attorney's request to hold Larson for an additional 24 hours.
The Stearns County Attorney's office has until noon to charge Larson, otherwise he'll be released.
With noon approaching, prosecutors apparently determined they don't have enough evidence to charge Larson "at this time," though the investigation into Officer Decker's shooting is ongoing.
Stearns County authorities released this statement this morning:
In consultation with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Stearns County Sheriff's Office, the Stearns County Attorney's Office has determined that at this time there is not sufficient documented evidence to continue to hold Larson.
:::: UPDATE ::::
12:25 p.m. -- In an interview with the St. Cloud Times, Larson said: "Basically, [authorities] have no evidence whatsoever that points in my direction."
Officer Decker was reportedly responding to Larson's apartment following reports that Larson was suicidal when he was shot. But Larson, 34, says the whole thing was a misunderstanding.
"I did send a couple text messages to my parents letting them know that [Friday] was a big day," Larson told the Times, but he meant it was a big day at school for him (he's a student at St. Cloud Technical and Community College), not that he was going to harm himself.
Larson, who lives in an apartment above Winner's Sports Bar and Grill in Cold Spring, said he was sleeping at the time of the shooting. Next thing he knew, "search teams were coming down my hallway."
He admits he matches some features of the shooting suspect as described by those at the scene and had weapons in his apartment, but insists police arrested the wrong person.
"They have no gun, they have no fingerprints, they have nothing," Larson said, adding that he had met Officer Decker and regarded him as a "great guy."
Jeff Scoles Jr. owner of Winner's (Larson used to work as a bartender there), attests to his former employee's innocence.
"I know he didn't do it, I'm positive he wouldn't do it," Scoles Jr. told the Times. "He ain't that type of person."
If Larson and Scoles Jr. can be believed, then there's a cop killer still on the loose.
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