$100,000 reward in Cold Spring Officer Tom Decker murder - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

$100,000 reward set in Cold Spring police officer murder

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A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the deadly shooting of Cold Spring Police Officer Tom Decker.

The reward is being offered by Spotlight on Crime, which has offered more than $1 million to help solve cases in Minnesota. The reward is one of the largest they have ever offered.

"This is a cold-blooded killing, and the sooner we get this individual who is responsible for this behind bars, the better all of us will sleep at night," said Sheriff John Sanner.

Decker, 31, was shot and killed Nov. 29 behind Winner's Bar in Cold Spring while responding to a report of a suicidal man.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Monday they are looking for any information on a black minivan with loud exhaust leaving the scene of the shooting. Tips can be sent via e-mail or by calling the BCA at 1-877-996-6222 or the sheriff's office at 1-877-782-5683.

About an hour after the shooting, 34-year-old Ryan Larson was arrested at his apartment  -- shortly after his parents had called police to say they were worried he may be suicidal. Larson was later released without charges.

According to a court documents filed by prosecutors seeking to hold Larson for longer, family members told police he had been making suicidal comments for months and the remarks were growing more threatening against both himself and others.

That application to detain Larson explains that Decker's partner, Officer Greg Reiter, arrived at Larson's address first at about 9 p.m. but could not make contact. He alerted other agencies to look for Larson and returned at 10:35 p.m. to find Larson's car parked directly in front of the stairs leading to his apartment.

Reiter then contacted Decker for backup and waited for him to arrive. The document explains that Decker got to the scene at 10:45 p.m. and immediately exited his squad to go to the apartment. Reiter was still in his squad when he heard two loud "bangs," according to the documents. 

Seconds later, Reiter reported seeing a man standing about 6 feet tall who was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, jeans and dark stocking cap standing by Decker's squad and pointing a handgun at him.

The documents explain that Reiter then put his squad in reverse and left the parking lot. As he did, he saw Decker lying on the ground while the armed man walked away in the opposite direction.

When backup officers arrived, they found Decker's body and they called in the Stearns/Benton Special Emergency Response Team while securing the scene.

Shortly after midnight, the SERT officers entered Larson's apartment and found him lying on the bed with a handgun next to him. Police say Larson told them he kept the gun under his pillow for safety and was taken into custody without incident.

After the arrest, a search of Larson's apartment uncovered surveillance equipment that provided a view of the shooting scene -- including where the squad cars were parked. there was no recording device; however, police say it was on.

Officers also say they found a hooded sweatshirt that matched the description Reiter gave. BCA investigators say Reiter has been very cooperative.

Larson previously texted FOX 9 News to say he believed he was going to be cleared in the case soon; however, police and members of the BCA say everyone is a potential suspect.

"We leave no stone unturned in this investigation," said Drew Evans, of the BCA. "We examine every lead and every person. Nobody has been eliminated or ruled out in this investigation at this time."

Police still have not found a murder weapon or any eyewitnesses. Dive teams are searching the Sauk River in Cold Spring for the gun used in the shooting.

Anyone with information regarding this crime 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.

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