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November 1, 2014

Cold Spring officer fatally shot, suspect arrested

A Cold Spring police officer was shot and killed late Thursday after police were summoned to check on someone who was suicidal, according to media reports. The officer killed in what police called an “ambush” was identified as Tom Decker, who had been with the force since 2006. A suspect is in custody after a manhunt.

The suspect has been identified as Ryan Michael Larson, 34, of Cold Spring, who was booked after midnight on a murder charge.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said late Friday that several guns had been found at the scene, the Star Tribune reported.

Decker, 31, was married with four children, the Pioneer Press says. Memorial funds have been set up for his family.

KSTP interviewed Tom Decker’s mother, Rosella Decker, about the loss of her son (see full, raw video).

“You wish it was just a nightmare that you could wake up from,” Rosella Decker said.

See KSTP’s report on the incident below.

Tom Decker was bright and animated and loved to travel and the outdoors, his brother said, according to the Associated Press.

The Star Tribune has a video of comments by Police Chief Phil Jones, who says the small, close-knit department is devastated by the loss.

Decker had been checking on someone believed to be suicidal at a Main Street apartment in the town about 80 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, WCCO reports.

After the shooting, the search for the shooter was swift and intense, and included a helicopter. Police shut down much of downtown, the Star Tribune and St. Cloud Times report.

The suspect was found in a residence, the St. Cloud Times reports.

The suspect allegedly had a loaded handgun on a bedside table, the Pioneer Press reported.

Rosella Decker told the Pioneer Press her son Tom recently remarried and has four children, two boys ages 5 and 6, and two daughters ages 7 and 8.

More on Officer Decker from the Cold Spring Police Department website:

Officer Decker is a 2002 graduate of Alexandria Technical College receiving an A.A.S. Degree in Law Enforcement. Officer Decker began serving the City of Isle, in Mille Lacs County in October of 2002. In April of 2003, Officer Decker began serving the City of Watkins in Meeker County in the same capacity. In September of 2004, Officer Decker started with the Kimball Police Department and also served as a School Resource Officer for the Kimball School District. In March of 2006, Officer Decker began serving the cities of Cold Spring and Richmond. Officer Decker is a native of the Cold Spring area and is a ROCORI graduate.

Gov. Mark Dayton in a statement on Friday said Decker “was senselessly murdered last night while acting in the line of duty.”

It’s believed the suspect lived in an apartment above a bar, Stearns County Sheriff Chief Deputy Bruce Bechtold said at a media conference late Thursday, posted by the St. Cloud Times: