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Cold Spring police officer killed in line of duty Thursday night

ST. PAUL -- The Stearns County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are investigating the shooting death of a Cold Spring Police Department officer.

Officer Tom Decker, 31, was shot and killed around 11 p.m. Thursday night near Winner's Bar on Main Street in Cold Spring as Decker and his partner conducted a welfare check at a nearby apartment. Officer Decker died at the scene.

Law enforcement agencies from across the region along with the Minnesota State Patrol launched a search for the suspect. Within an hour, Stearns County SWAT team investigators took Ryan Michael Larson, 34, of Cold Spring into custody. Larson was booked into the Stearns County Jail on murder charges early this morning.

"We're still in the very early stages of this ongoing and active investigation. Officers from many agencies are taking part, conducting interviews and processing the crime scene," said Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Assistant Superintendent Drew Evans. "The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension offers its condolences to Officer Decker's family and to the Cold Spring Police Department and community."

Officer Decker spent more than 10 years in law enforcement in Mille Lacs, Meeker and Stearns counties and had worked as an officer with the Cold Spring Police Department since March 2006. Decker was a native of Cold Spring. Funeral arrangements for Officer Decker are not yet set. Officer Decker's body has been taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office for autopsy.

The shooting is being investigated by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Stearns County Sheriff's Office with assistance from the Cold Spring Police Department, the Minnesota State Patrol, the St. Cloud Police and several other agencies.