Man questioned in Cold Spring officer's death returns to apartment

11:51 AM, Dec 18, 2012   |    comments
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St. Cloud Times/Jun-Kai Teoh
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  • COLD SPRING, Minn. - Ryan Larson, the only named suspect in the shooting death of Cold Spring-Richmond Police Officer Tom Decker, said Monday he was pleased a $100,000 reward is being offered in the case.

    "I think it's a great idea," said Larson, who was arrested soon after the Nov. 29 shooting but later released without charges. Larson lived above Winner's Sports Bar & Grill in Cold Spring, near the alley where Decker's body was found.

    He has repeatedly stated his innocence in the case.

    "It's a big incentive to tell the truth," he said of the reward. "Hopefully it generates some leads."

    He said he was asked early in the investigation about the black minivan that investigators addressed in a news conference earlier Monday, asking anyone who had seen the van to come forward.

    Larson returned to his apartment for the first time Sunday to pick up a change of clothes. The results of the various searches conducted in the apartment left him emotional and angry, and questioning the quality of the investigation.

    "I came back for a half hour and broke down, and then I left," he said.

    After discussing the situation with his lawyer, they invited the St. Cloud Times on Monday to view the apartment.

    "We both agreed the public have to see this," he said.

    He made the visit with the intent of collecting clothing and school work. Larson was a student at St. Cloud Technical & Community College.

    "But I can't even find anything," he said. "Just the sheer disrespect for somebody's personal property. It disgusts me.

    "I was irritated. I was confused before, now I'm mad," he said. "To turn it upside down like this. This isn't an investigation."

    Among the piles were family photos, school books, assignments and projects. Possessions were strewn about, at times not in the original room in which they had been kept. His bedding was in the kitchen area. Carpet was pulled from floorboards and left in an adjoining room.

    "They were clearly looking hard for something they weren't finding," he said.

    He called the work in the apartment "absolute vandalism." Authorities have been searching the same six blocks, he said, and it's an "absolute waste."

    Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner directed all questions to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the lead agency in the investigation.

    Larson is hoping the case will be solved.

    "I go one day at a time," he said.

    "People are scared, they're hurting. They lost a good guy," he said.

    He's been staying at friends' houses for now and plans to take incompletes on his classes for the moment. He said the BCA is holding on to his computer and school bag full of books as possible evidence for now. He requested them Monday.

    "To have my reputation gone and then come back here and open this door," he said. "I got nothing left that they can take from me."

    He said officers continue to talk to his friends and family.

    "I've got nothing to hide," he said.

    He was not familiar with Greg Reiter, the part-time officer at the scene who was recently identified in case documents.

    "I didn't do anything to deserve this," Larson said. "I will not try to come back to Cold Spring."

    He said in terms of supporting himself, he's getting some money here and there from family and a few bar patrons. One woman even offered a summer home in the area for him to stay in.

    "But I can't come back to this town," he said.

    (Copyright 2012 by The St. Cloud Times. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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