Cold Spring officer shooting: Tom Decker killed while checking on suicidal man

Categories: Crime, Police
tom decker larson.jpg
Cold Spring Officer Tom Decker (left) was fatally shot last night, allegedly by Ryan Larson (right).
Late last night, Cold Spring officer Tom Decker was shot and killed while conducing a welfare check at an apartment above Winner's Sports Bar and Grill.

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Decker, 31, was married and had four young children. During a press conference today, a shaken Cold Spring Police Chief Phil Jones became emotional while talking about his slain colleague, who he described as "the department jokester."

"The community and all of law enforcement will miss Tom Decker," Jones said.

A few details about the circumstances of the shooting were also revealed. According to Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner, law enforcement received a call of concern about Ryan Larson, 34, about 9 p.m. yesterday evening. The call said Larson was potentially suicidal.

"Officers responded to [Larson's] residence, failed to make contact with him," Sanner said. "[They] did return an hour and 45 minutes later trying to make contact. Officer Decker [along with his partner] pulled up, [were] confronted by armed individual, [Decker was] shot twice, and died."

It appears Decker was ambushed by Larson, authorities said. They also confirmed that Cold Spring officers knew Larson.

Authorities declined to provide more specifics since their investigation is ongoing.

Larson was arrested and booked into Stearns County Jail. He's being held on suspicion of second-degree murder.

The St. Cloud Times provides a bit more information about Officer Decker:
The Rev. Cletus Connors of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Cold Spring said he met with the family last night and he has known the officer for years.

"He was a nice young person. Always sincere and the type of guy who always wanted to do what was right. He would give everybody the benefit of the doubt," Connor said.

Decker had been a police officer for Cold Spring and Richmond since 2006. He is Rocori High School graduate.

"I don't know anyone who would command more respect in the town," Connors said.
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20 comments
OMB
OMB

I continually try my best to stay out of these internet wars because it is almost impossible to really explain your opinions , and for that matter for others to really hear you.I decided to go against my better judgment though, to say: Our government allows due process so that the adequate and appropriate measures are taken so that the true criminal is brought to justice, if for any reason it is done inaccurately then the person may walk or be put in jail when he or she hadn't committed the crime. Also, I do not personally know the victim nor the suspect, but I am from this area, and there are many people hurt because of it, and it is the people who are making accusations and have no right because they have no authority and only know what the media has put out there. Honestly, this poor man was a cop who was here to abide by the law, which most of the people talking about this are the ones saying that 'someone being accused' has done it. Does that not go against everything that Tom Decker stood for, and essentially loosing his life for. People should be ashamed of themselves. Not to mention if Ryan Larson had not done this then every one should recognize what they have done to him and his family and the family of Tom Decker.

Kathie Carlson
Kathie Carlson

Bob -I'll support and work towards universal health care once it treats and gives all that need it a fair shot at it.. I've been with out any health care for 5 yrs can't afford it,, Mental health hum,,, I'm only guessing but why should society continue to pay for everyone else, People need to be held responsible for their own action and stop blaming everyone else, I for one am tired of paying for it. Gun control.... Yep I conceal and carry!!!

Kathie Carlson
Kathie Carlson

Really JON!!.... a soapbox, this man died in the line of duty, I hope you never need a cop. How dare you call it a goddamn soapbox. RIP Officer Decker. Your family in blue will always remember you and take care of your wife and kids,

Jon Marchand
Jon Marchand

Stop turning this into a goddamn soapbox.

Bob Alberti
Bob Alberti

I don't see YOU proposing any answers.

Bob Alberti
Bob Alberti

Then get up tomorrow and start working for universal health care and mental health services and gun control.

A1batross
A1batross

When you have a) no universal health care, b) no system of mental health treatment, and c) a pathological gun culture you end up with d) insane people with guns who kill other people.

Amanda Lindau
Amanda Lindau

Horrible, my heart is heavy for this family.

CheyCab
CheyCab

@atrupar -Sounds like the suspect was more homicidal than suicidal. #ColdSpring

Talia TK Kay
Talia TK Kay

Such a tragedy. My heart goes out to Cold Spring and Officer Decker's family.

ktr0
ktr0

@A1batross Hey idiot, why don't you get to the back of the line with the the rest of the people that want to blame everyone and everything except for the SOB that is responsible for such a horrible act. This didn't happen because of a lack of mental health treatment or accessibility to guns. This happened because this piece of crap, Ryan Larson, didn't have the guts to just take his own life, and instead took the life of an honorable young man protecting the communities we live in. I wish I could say that at least he will rot in prison for the rest of his life, but unfortunately he'll get 10-15 years for this murder2 charge. If you want to complain about something, why don't you complain about how unjust our MN Criminal Justice system is that would allow a cop killer to ever see the light of day again, let alone only be locked up for 10 years! If you want to complain about something, complain about how his wife, 4 kids, parents, family, friends and the ENTIRE law enforcement community will have to mourn the death of an individual who was doing something good for our small towns and how this day will FOREVER impact tens of thousands of lives beyond what you can imagine. Now that the record has been set straight, let us all join together and start supporting those that are the real victims of this tragedy.

A1batross
A1batross

@keny1 You might benefit from studying history. Reagan closed the nation's mental health facilities in 1981 or '82, and since that time the nation's mentally ill have lived on the street or been incarcerated without treatment. We have no national solution to the problem of severe mental illness. And we have no universal health coverage, so the mentally ill cannot usually afford treatment. But we DO have lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of guns. Tragedies like this are therefore inevitable, but rather than working to address the problem dudes like ktr0 and you (if you're not the same dude) post rageful messages about what we should do to the perpetrators after the fact, rather than considering what we should do to prevent these tragedies in the first place.

A1batross
A1batross

@ktr0 "This didn't happen because of a lack of mental health treatment or accessibility to guns. This happened because this piece of crap, Ryan Larson, didn't have the guts to just take his own life"

So you're saying the solution is to create more courageous suicidal gun owners, ones who have the courage to commit suicide before killing other people. Gotcha.

A1batross
A1batross

@keny1  All you have posted are insults and snark. As far as I can tell, you're all for a solution to these problems as long as they don't challenge any of your preconceptions or call for any changes that impact your life. Good luck improving the world with that set of criteria.

keny1
keny1

@green23 @keny1 @A1batross Delusional Idealistic Liberalism truly is a mental illness as you so clearly display. Because we all know that Universal Health Car and the banning of guns will miraculously cure mental illness.  While we are at it, let's also ban knives, forks, and spoons as they are the leading cause of obesity in this country.  

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