ST. CLOUD, Minn. - The man arrested in the shooting death of Cold Spring-Richmond Police Officer Tom Decker was released from jail Tuesday without being charged.
A Stearns County Sherrif's deputy tells KARE 11 that Ryan Larson was hustled out a back door of the Stearns County Jail at 11:48 a.m. and taken to an undisclosed location to protect his safety.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) confirmed the development in a written statement just after 12 p.m.
"Our agencies have reviewed the investigative data collected thus far and must act within the time allotted by law, within the constraints of the law, and based upon the facts known at this time," said Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall in a written statement.
Decker's mother declined comment on the release, but his former sister-in-law did not hesitate. Roxie Knowles was at the jail hoping to see Larson as he was released.
"I wanted him to know he has hurt a lot of lives,"Knowles told KARE 11's Lindsey Seavert. "Not just the one he took but he hurt his wife Alicia, he hurt his mom and dad, nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters, he hurt his four beautiful children (cries) and his ex-wife whose family is here today."
The decision to release Larson came one day after the Stearns County Attorney's Office got a 24-hour extension to decide whether to charge Larson.
Investigators initially said Larson was suspected of killing Decker late Thursday in what is being called an ambush behind Winner's Bar on Main Street in Cold Spring.
DPSsays despite the release of their top suspect inDecker's murder, the investigation is far from over.
"Investigators will not rest until we fully determine what happened the night of Officer Decker's death and bring to account those responsible," said Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) Assistant Superintendent Drew Evans.
Still, those assurances come as little consolation to those who loved Tom Decker. "I think it's crap," said formerbrother-in-law Ricky Pierskalla. "Letting him walk like this, letting him go home to his family, it is just not fair."
His sister, Roxie Knowles, feels the same way. "I just wanted to say justice will be served," she said, fighting back tears. "It is not done for you (Larson)".
Detectives from the BCA, the Stearns County Sheriff's Office and other assisting agencies will continue to pursue all leads.
Anyone with information on the murder of officer Tom Decker or the whereabouts of the .20 gauge shotgun believed to be the murder weapon is urged to contact the Stearns County Sheriff's Office at 320-251-4240.