COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. -- The St. John's Abbey has room for 2,000 people. It was full almost an hour before the services honoring slain Cold Spring Police Officer Thomas Decker. Over a thousand others watched a video feed of the services in a nearby auditorium.
Decker, a father of four, was killed in the line of duty the week before. "He was a bright light that has been extinguished. Tommy is now at peace," Decker's reverend and neighbor Cletus Connors told the assembled crowd.
An estimated 2,300 law enforcement officers from across the Midwest were there to honor the officer's sacrifice. Hundreds of citizens also lined the streets of Cold Spring as a procession of squad cars led the family to Decker's final resting place.
"It's so sad and it's so breathtaking at the same time. You don't realize how big your state is until you start reading all the towns on these cars," Kari Robak, who was raised in Cold Spring, explained. She also said it was difficult trying to make sense of it all. "There's no reason it should have happened and I don't know why it happened. It's just so sad, I don't have another word for it, it's just sad."
For Mel Janssen, it was another difficult chapter in the city's history. "We've gone through it before with the shooting at the school, but you never get used to it. It's just tough to deal with," he said.
But this is a close community filled with pride. The mayor says they'll get through this difficult time. "We're small in size but I think we're big in heart," another resident explained.