ST. CLOUD, Minn. - A man whose family described him as suicidal is now behind bars in Stearns County held on suspicion of second degree murder in the alleged ambush of a Cold Spring police officer.
Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner says 34-year-old Ryan Michael Larson was arrested in an apartment above Winner's bar in downtown Cold Spring late Thursday. Investigators believe he fired two shots into Cold Spring police officer Tom Decker, causing his death.
Authorities say Larson's family called dispatchers around 9 p.m. asking police to check on him as they thought he was suicidal. Officer Decker and a partner responded to the call, but were unable to make contact with Larson. Sheriff Sanner says Decker and the other officer returned some 45 minutes later and apparently encountered Larson in an alley near Winner's bar where the fatal shots were fired.
While investigators would not describe the events they believe transpired, BCA Assistant Superintendant Drew Evans labeled the fatal shooting an ambush.
Not much is known yet about Ryan Larson. Stearns County jail records show he was arrested in May of 2009 for disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor. Cold Spring Police Chief Phil Jones told reporters one of his officers had some previous contact with Larson, but did not describe it as anything significant.
A check of Larson's driving record shows citations for seatbelt violation, speeding, driving with no proof of insurance and driving after having his license cancelled.
A spokeswoman for St. Cloud Techncial & Community College confirms that Larson is a second-year machine tool student.
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