Ryan Larson, the man who had initially been arrested and questioned – and then released – in the November shooting death of Cold Spring officer Tom Decker, has been cleared of any involvement in the case, WCCO reports.
"It was a big step for me today," Larson told FOX 9 News in an exclusive interview.
State Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Stearns County Sheriff's Office investigators on Tuesday said they had wrapped the active investigation in the killing, saying that they would have arrested 31-year-old Eric Thomes of rural Cold Spring, who committed suicide as they sought to question him.
Larson, 34, had always maintained that he was innocent in the case. Investigators say they had sufficient probable cause to arrest Larson in the immediate wake of the Nov. 29 slaying, and he was held six days. But investigators did not have sufficient evidence to charge him. Officials now say Larson is not considered a suspect.
Larson did not get a call from investigators on Tuesday, FOX 9 reports. Larson was cleared in a press release:
"At this time, the investigation has provided no information that Mr. Larson participated in Officer Decker’s murder. There is no known connection between Mr. Thomes and Mr. Larson related to this crime,” the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a news release.
WCCO also interviews Yovonne Ketcher, a close friend of Thomes, who says she believes Thomes did not commit the crime, either. She tells WCCO Thomes had borrowed a 20-gauge shotgun from her live-in boyfriend, but that the boyfriend had gotten the gun back from Thomes two weeks before the killing. Investigators believe a 20-gauge shotgun was used in the crime.
Decker, a 31-year-old father of four, was fatally shot behind Winner's Bar on while responding to a report of a possibly suicidal man.