Friend: Man accused of fatally shooting Cold Spring officer 'not a monster'

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A friend of Ryan Michael Larson -- the man accused of fatally shooting Cold Spring police Officer Tom Decker -- said Friday that the suspect was a "normal person" and "not a monster," The Associated Press reported.

Larson had an apartment above the bar owned by Jeff Scoles Jr. and was employee of the other bar Scoles owns in Sartell. According to The AP, Scoles said Larson was doing homework and was in a "good mood" when he left the Sartell bar Thursday.

WCCO reported that Larson was a second-year student at St. Cloud Technical and Community College.

See the WCCO's report on Larson's background below.

Decker was shot to death late Thursday behind Winners Bar in downtown Cold Spring after responding to a call to check on the welfare of someone described as suicidal.

The officer was gunned down in what police described as an ambush shooting, the Star Tribune reported.

After a manhunt, Larson, 34, was arrested just after midnight Friday and charged with murder.

Meanwhile, police are still looking for the gun used in the shooting, the Pioneer Press reported. They are asking Cold Spring residents to check their yards and areas around their homes.

Decker, 31, was a six-year veteran of the police department. According to the Pioneer Press, he recently started his second marriage and had four young children.

Memorial funds for Decker's family have been set up at three banks in Cold Spring, the St. Cloud Times reported.

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