Minnesota Police Officer Shot To Death in Ambush

Posted at: 11/30/2012 6:37 PM
Updated at: 11/30/2012 7:27 PM
By: Laura Lee

(ABC 6 News) -- We are following a developing story as a Minnesota police officer was shot and killed while doing his job protecting others.

It happened in Cold Spring near St. Cloud late Thursday night. The officer was responding to a report of a possible suicidal man when he himself was shot.

Officer Tom Decker, a six year veteran with the department was shot to death in what authorities are calling an ambush killing.

Decker went to the apartment on top of Winner's Bar twice last night. The first time was around 9 p.m. to check in on 34-year-old Ryan Michael Larson.

The second time was around 10:45 p.m. and that's when Larson allegedly fired two shots at Decker hitting him.

"The officer was ambushed at the scene," says Chief Phil Jones.

The 31-year-old father of four was wearing his bullet proof vest, but died due to the gun shots. An hour later Larson was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Cold Spring Police Chief Phil Jones says in a small department of 16, the loss of Decker leaves a gaping hole.

"He was a department jokester, had a great sense of humor, everyone who met him liked him," says Jones.

Officer Decker was a "hometown boy," he attended Rocori Schools, his parents still live just outside of town and according to the chief a model citizen.

"It's a privilege to talk about Tom Decker, he was a chief's dream," says Chief Jones, "here, what he called his dream job, here with us at the Cold Spring Police Department."

A dream that has now turned into a tragic nightmare for this small community.

In the last 10 years, Officer Decker has received six special commendation awards and several letters of appreciation.

Decker leaves behind a wife and four young children.