COLD SPRING, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — The four children of a slain Cold Spring police officer are struggling to imagine Christmas without their father.
Tom Decker was killed late Thursday while checking on a report of a suicidal man. His funeral is Wednesday.
Mounds of presents surround his children’s Christmas tree in Sartell, but 7-year-old Jade Decker told her mother, Becky Decker, the only present she wants is to have her daddy back.
Becky Decker is divorced from Tom Decker but speaks well of him, calling him a good father and widely respected community member. She says their kids are on an emotional roller-coaster, having fun one minute then breaking down the next.
She seconded others’ memories about his sense of humor, calling him a goofball who liked to watch “SpongeBob Squarepants” with his kids.
The man accused of shooting and killing a Cold Spring police officer is expected to go before a judge in Stearns County Court on Monday.
Ryan Larson, 34, was arrested early Friday morning after police say he shot and killed Officer Tom Decker. Larson will be formally charged in the death of Officer Decker when he goes before a judge this morning in Cold Spring.
Investigators are still trying to find the 20-gauge shotgun they say was likely used in the murder. Last Thursday night, officer Decker was doing a welfare check on Larson at his apartment in Cold Spring.
Investigators said Larson ambushed Officer Decker in the parking lot as he was getting out of his squad car, and shot him twice. Officer Decker died at the scene.
Over the weekend we talked to Officer Decker’s brother, who said he’ll remember him as a jokester who loved to make people laugh and as a strong leader dedicated to serving his community.
“He was a leader and sometimes leaders can lead without saying anything,” Edward Decker said. “He feit the leadership role in the family, he fit the leadership role in the community and he fit the leadership role in his family as far as his own kids.”
Decker had just remarried about a year ago and had been with the Cold Spring Police Department 2006. As for the murder weapon, investigators spent the weekend looking for it. They are asking people to keep an eye out for it and if you do find it, don’t touch it. Just call 911.
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