Even for those who didn't know him, the fatal ambush of a local police officer provoked tears Friday for residents of the small central Minnesota community where he was killed while trying to help a man believed to be suicidal.
Officer Tom Decker, a six-year veteran and father of four, had gone to check on a man's welfare when he was fatally shot after getting out of his squad car near a bar in Cold Springs late Thursday. Investigators said Friday that several guns were found, and the man who was reported to be suicidal was taken into custody.
"He was a policeman trying to help someone. He was called there to help and he went there and was shot doing his job," said Donna Knaus, a manager at Cold Spring Bakery not far from the crime scene. "It's horrible."
Many other residents of Cold Spring, a city of about 4,000 residents about 75 miles northwest of Minneapolis, became teary-eyed when asked about Decker. The officer grew up on a farm south of town, and after graduating from college, worked at several small Minnesota police departments before coming home for what he called his dream job.