Funeral for Cold Spring Officer Tom Decker - KMSP-TV

Funeral for Cold Spring Officer Tom Decker

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The funeral for Cold Spring Police Officer Tom Decker brought 3,200 people from across the country -- including 2,300 law enforcement personnel -- to the campus of Saint John's in Collegeville, Minn., on Wednesday.

The funeral service began at 11 a.m., with Decker's family being the last to enter the church. Each member was clutching a rose as they entered the traditional Catholic funeral mass, which lasted through 1 p.m. Mourners packed St. John's Abbey, spilling into two overflow rooms.

Flags were flown at half-staff across Minnesota on Wednesday as Decker was laid to rest, guided to his grave by hundreds of squad cars and thousands of mourners who lined the procession route.

The procession began in Collegeville, and crossed 15 miles south through the crowded main streets of Cold Spring before leaving the town where Decker was killed to loop west into Richmond -- a town his department also served.

By mid-afternoon, the procession reached the final leg of Decker's last journey, and a horse-drawn carriage carried his casket down a lonely country road to a cemetery in the town of Saint Nicholas.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said officers from Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Montana and Ontario were all present at Wednesday's services -- many of whom were strangers to Decker. The strong show of support and honor followed a Tuesday night visitation where hundreds gathered at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Cold Spring to pay their respects.

Decker was shot and killed in the line of duty in what investigators describe as an ambush; however, no suspects are currently in custody. Officials released  34-year-old Ryan Larson from jail on Tuesday after prosecutors found there was insufficient evidence to press charges.

Police are still seeking a 20-guage shotgun believed to be the murder weapon.

The somber mood at Tuesday's visitation was intensified by shock after officials released the suspect arrested in the killing shortly before noon Tuesday, citing a lack of evidence.

"I don't think it's cliché to say worst nightmare," said Avon Police Chief Corey Nellis. "I don't know what could be worse. This is the most tragic thing that can happen to a small community or really any community for that matter."

Decker, 31, was one of eight children raised on a farm just south of town and was working what he described as his "dream job" when he was killed. Decker had four children himself.

"We sat and watched the four children come to see their dad and that was pretty moving," said family friend Ed Kunz.

A funeral procession will transport Decker's body through the towns where he worked and past his boyhood home before he is laid to rest.

Several funds have been set up for those who are interested in helping Officer Decker's family.

Tom Decker Memorial Fund
State Bank of Cold Spring
PO Box 415
Cold Spring, MN 56320

Tom Decker Memorial Fund
1st National Bank of Cold Spring
PO Box 416
Cold Spring, MN 56320

Tom Decker Memorial Fund
Central Minnesota Credit Union
202 Red River Avenue South
Cold Spring, MN 56320

Tom Decker Memorial Fund
All Wells Fargo locations

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