COLD SPRING, Minn. - A Cold Spring police officer was shot and killed while responding to reports of a suicidal resident late Thursday.
Authorities say Officer Tom Decker was ambushed and gunned down in the alley behind Winners' bar around 10:45 p.m. He reportedly was wearing his bulletproof vest at the time of the shooting.
The family of 34-year-old Ryan Michael Larson of Cold Spring called police around 9 p.m. expressing concerns that he was suicidal. Decker and another officer responded to Larson's address, an apartment above Winner's bar. At some point Decker was shot twice, and died on the scene.
Larson was arrested in an apartment above Winner's bar. The Stearns County Jail roster says he was booked at 12:15 a.m. on charges of second degree murder.
A spokeswoman for St. Cloud Techncial & Community College confirms that Larson is a second-year machine tool student.
Police scrambled to the shooting scene about 11 p.m. Thursday. A perimeter was set up around much of downtown during the search for the suspect, and helicopters circled overhead. Multiple police agencies were called to help with the investigation.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Crime Lab was called in to process the scene.
The manager of a nearby business tells KARE 11 that Decker recently remarried, and is the father of two young children.
Mark Schurman is a baker who was coming to work at the time the scene was active. He says officers were searching vehicles, and that he was initially kept from the bakery while the search continued.
"A tough day," Schurman told KARE 11. "They're putting themselves in harm's way all the time, and it's sad to see this happen to em. It's just a really bad day."
Bechtold said the last Stearns County officer who was killed in the line of duty was St. Joseph officer Brian Klinefelter in 1996. Klinefelter was shot while attempting to arrest three suspects who had robbed a liquor store.
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