7 weeks later: Recap of Cold Spring police officer's murder - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

7 weeks later: Recap of Cold Spring police officer's murder

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COLD SPRING, Minn. (KMSP) -

It's a case that has taken on all the qualities of a noir crime drama -- Tommy Decker, a small town cop from Cold Spring, Minn., gunned down in the alley behind the local watering hole, Winner's Bar.

Decker was performing a welfare check on the part-time bartender who lived upstairs, Ryan Larson, after his family called police to say he may be suicidal.

Right from the start, mistakes were made. The crime scene wasn't secured, witnesses left, and police found Larson sleeping in his apartment an hour later -- but detectives couldn't find the 20-guage shotgun used in the killing.

Even so, police were confident they had their killer -- and so was Decker's family. Larson was arrested, but was released for lack of evidence after an extended stay in jail. Despite proclaiming his innocence, he still found himself under a cloud of suspicion until police turned their attention to Eric Thomes.

Thomes was a regular at Winner's Bar, and he had been arrested by Decker and his partner, Officer Greg Reiter, a year earlier on a DUI charge. Yet, when police went to interview Thomes again about inconsistencies in his stories, he ran and barricaded himself inside his girlfriend's garage before taking his own life.

Police would only call Thomes a person of interest, but investigators found the murder weapon in a place he had access to.

There are still questions surrounding Decker's partner, who stayed inside his squad car when Decker was shot in cold blood and who gave investigators only a general description of the gunman -- a white man wearing a hoodie.

So, after nearly two months, police seeking justice for a fallen officer are left with a suspect they can't keep in jail and a dead man they'll only call a person of interest.

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