MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Of the thousands who braved the cold Tuesday evening in Cold Spring, there were many who had never met Officer Tom Decker, who died last week after being shot in what authorities called a surprise attack.

One of those at Decker’s visitation was Lisa Kickhafer, who remembered seeing the officer from afar when he first started doing police work in Watkins, Minn., in 2003.

“I just wanted to be here for his family,” Kickhafer said.

During the visitation, which started at 4 p.m., the line moved slowly and snaked through the entire building. Every fourth person or so was in uniform – hailing from cities like Minnetonka and even Thunder Bay – and each waited their turn to say goodbye to a man who left behind so much, including two little boys and two little girls.

“Very sad for his children, that was really hard, really hard,” said Kelly, a friend of Decker’s who didn’t want to give her last name.

Cold Spring is a small community, and one saw many at the visitation embrace each other.

“The whole community is really sad about what happened,” said Patty Tumble, a mourner.

The community is also troubled that 34-year-old Ryan Larson, the man they thought had killed Decker, is no longer in jail. He was released Tuesday after Stearns County authorities said they currently lack “sufficient documented evidence” to hold him. They’re back to square one in finding Decker’s killer, and still looking for the shotgun believed to be the murder weapon.

One of the most touching moments in the visitation was the sight of Decker’s four children holding hands. When they came through, everyone stopped and were reminded once again of the terrible loss.

Flags around the state will be at half-staff for Decker on Wednesday, when he will be remembered at a funeral at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville at 11 a.m.

As many as 2,000 law enforcement officers from across the country are expected. If you’d like to pay respects, you’re encouraged to line the procession route. (To see a map of the route, click here.)

How You Can Help

Several funds have been set up for those who are interested in helping Officer Tom Decker’s family.

Tom Decker Memorial Fund
State Bank of Cold Spring
PO Box 415 Cold Spring, MN 56320

Tom Decker Memorial Fund
1st National Bank of Cold Spring
PO Box 416 Cold Spring, MN 56320

Tom Decker Memorial Fund
Central Minnesota Credit Union
202 Red River Avenue So. Cold Spring, MN 56320

Tom Decker Memorial Fund
Wells Fargo
All locations


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Watch & Listen LIVE