Mystery surrounds shooting of Officer Tom Decker - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Mystery surrounds shooting of Officer Tom Decker

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As family and friends of Officer Tom Decker gathered to pay their respects to the fallen hero, the only suspect in the case was released from jail, leaving the town of Cold Spring shrouded in mystery.

Police still have not found a murder weapon or any eye witnesses. On Tuesday, prosecutors let their one and only suspect -- 34-year-old Ryan Larson -- go free on Tuesday on Tuesday shortly before noon due to insufficient evidence against him to bring charges.

Decker's former in-laws told FOX 9 News they are convinced Larson is responsible as they waited outside the Stearns County Jail while deputies snuck Larson out away from the cameras, driving him to an undisclosed location.

In a jailhouse interview with the St. Cloud Times, Larson said, "Basically, they have no evidence whatsoever that points in my direction. They have no gun. They have no fingerprints. They have nothing."

When Decker walked behind the bar, there were plenty of places a gunman could have hidden -- including up were Larson lived or down in the alley. Now, the question is whether Larson pulled the trigger or someone else entirely.

FOX 9 obtained transcripts of police calls on Thursday night that raise even more questions. The dispatcher said, "We received two calls -- one from the brother and one from mom -- stating Ryan Larson has been texting saying he wants to end his life, that he hates his life."

Larson told the St. Cloud Times that was a misunderstanding, though he admitted sending text messages to his parents to say the next day would be a "big day."

Apparently, no one answered the door the first time Decker arrived at the apartment at about 9 p.m. From the transcript, there is no indication Decker told dispatchers he conducted a second check 90 minutes later. That's when a call of "officer down" was made by Decker's partner, who said, "I have no idea where the suspect went."

Police found Larson in his apartment an hour later, leaving many to wonder whether he ditched the gun and snuck back in or if police arrested the wrong man.

While police seek justice in the case, Decker's family is still wrestling with what to tell his children about his killer.

"Little Justin asked me if they're going to put the bad guy away," Roxie Knowles said. "I don't know what we're going to tell him."

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