Reporting Holly Wagner
COLD SPRING, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Members of the public who wish to honor Cold Spring Officer Tom Decker are being encouraged to pay respects along a procession route Wednesday morning. Up to 2,000 officers from around the country could attend the funeral.
After the service, law enforcement will participate in two processions through the community.
The first will include officers and first responders from outside Stearns County. The second will include Decker’s casket, family and friends, and all Stearns County officers. Decker’s casket will travel from St. John’s Abbey through communities where he worked and lived. A horse-drawn carriage will then bring him to St. Nicholas Cemetery.
The man accused of killing Decker, Ryan Larson, has not yet been formally charged and the murder weapon has still not been found. Authorities said that “at this time there is not sufficient documented evidence” to retain a hold on 34-year-old Ryan Larson. He was released at about noon on Tuesday.
Gaertner, who is now in private practice, says the 24-hour extension granted the county attorney is not surprising and quite common in serious cases like this. She says cases have been successfully prosecuted in past murder cases even without the murder weapon.
Investigators have asked the public to help find the shotgun they think was used to kill Officer Decker. He was shot twice in the parking lot of Winner’s Sports Bar & Grill in Cold Spring last Thursday night. Larson was arrested about an hour later in his apartment above the bar.
Authorities have asked people to look around their property for the gun. Last night, the community came together for a candlelight vigil to honor the fallen officer. Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects.
“It wasn’t all sad times, it wasn’t all good times, it was a little bit of both,” said Skip Halverson of Richmond. “They shared the good times, the bad times. Some of it was on duty and some of it was with him off duty as well.”
The visitation for Decker starts at 4 p.m. Tuesday at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Cold Spring. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. John’s Abbey and University Church in Collegeville.
Gov. Mark Dayton ordered flags to be flown at half-staff to honor Decker until sunset Wednesday.
Officer Decker leaves behind a wife and four young children from a previous marriage.
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