Updated: 11/29/2013 10:31 PM KSTP.com By: Cassie Hart
Friday marked one year since the shooting death of Cold Spring police officer Tom Decker. He was shot while responding to a welfare check. He died from the shotgun blast in a dark alley behind a Cold Spring bar.
On Friday night, family members, friends, and police officers came together to reflect and remember.
A husband, father of four, and a police officer -- gunned down in the line of duty. But for most of the people at the vigil, he was not Officer Tom Decker. He was Tommy.
"We're here not so much because Tommy died, but because Tommy lived," said one person who spoke at the vigil.
"It's just a time for us to gather and remember Tommy," said Chief Chris Boucher of the Cold Spring Police Department.
One year to the day after his murder, about 100 people huddled together, lit candles, and prayed. They remembered Decker, and reflected on the past year spent without him.
"It's been a struggle, not gonna lie," Boucher said.
The shock of his death has passed. But for his family, the sadness may never pass.
"After a couple months go by, then you start missing him, because you don't see him anymore," said Eddie Decker, Tom's brother.
"Last November 29th was a nightmare -- for us and many others all around," said Alicia Decker, Tom's widow.
Alicia Decker read a poem she wrote, showing immense strength, but still struggling to cope with her tremendous loss.
"The hurt and pain has never been so real," Alicia said.
It's a tragedy from which you can't move on, you can only move forward. And Decker's family said overwhelming community support has made moving forward far easier.
"Tom would have been very proud of seeing how much the community loved him," Eddie Decker said.
And now, Decker's family wants everyone else to share that love with each other.
"Please remember your 'I love you's,' for as we all know, tomorrow, we might not be there," Alicia Decker said.
Eric Thomes, the man investigators said murdered Decker, killed himself back in January, just as police were about to question him. But the investigation is still technically open, because police are still searching for a motive.
Below is a slideshow of Officer Decker's funeral.