Chief Phil Jones of the Cold Spring Minnesota Police Department sadly reported this morning that Officer Tom Decker, 31, was shot and killed while making a welfare check on a suspected suicidal person.

Sheriff John Sanner stated that about 9:00 pm the Stearns County Sheriff Department began receiving calls of a possible suicidal person.  Several officers who had previous contact with the suspect went to the suspect’s home address in Cold Spring and attempted contact to check on his welfare but were not able to make contact.

About 45 minutes later, Officer Decker and his partner returned to make another attempt in contacting the suspect.  That was when Officer Decker was shot.   One source stated that Officer Decker was shot twice in the parking lot of Winner’s Bar located at 200 Main Street.

The shooting is being investigated by the State of Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.  Drew Evans, the Assistant Superintendent, stated that their preliminary investigation shows that Officer Decker was shot in an ambush situation.   Evans confirmed that Officer Decker was wearing bullet resistant vest, but the location of gunshot wounds on Officer Decker’s body have not been disclosed.

The shooter, identified as Ryan Michael Larson, 34, has been taken into custody. The weapon used in the shooting has not been recovered.  One source indicated that the weapon was a sawed off shotgun.

Officer Decker was a 2002 graduate of Alexandria Technical College with a degree in Criminal Justice.  Upon his graduation, he commenced working for the City of Isle in Mille Lacs County as an officer.  He was later employed in 2003 for the City of Watkins and 2004 for the City of Kimbal.  From there, he joined the Cold Spring Minnesota Police Department in Stearns County and served there for 6 years.

Chief Phil Jones often heard Officer Decker refer to working at Cold Spring Police Department as his “dream job”.  Officer Decker was often referred to as the “Departmental Jokester” by his fellow officers and was one of eight full time officers in the department.

Officer Decker is survived by a wife and four young children.

Officer Tom Decker, gone but never forgotten.  EOW: Thursday, November 29, 2012

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