St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Authorities say they have recovered the weapon that was likely used to kill Cold Spring Police Officer Tom Decker back in November.
On Wednesday, just after 2 p.m., Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents were attempting to conduct a follow-up interview at the home of a Cold Spring resident as of part of the investigation into the shooting death of Officer Decker. However, the man fled into an outbuilding on his property.
BCA agents and Stearns County Sheriff’s Office investigators tried for several hours to contact the individual, but he refused to exit the building.
Shortly before 7 p.m. agents and investigators entered the building and found the man dead.
The man has been identified as Eric Joseph Thomes. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner believes Thomes died of suicide by hanging.
Further investigation led authorities to a 20 gauge shotgun that was found on a separate property.
BCA Laboratory firearms experts have determined that the gun was likely the weapon used to kill Officer Decker on November 29th.
As part of the investigation into Officer Decker’s murder, investigators are asking the public to identify any activities or notable actions taken by Mr. Thomes between the week prior to Officer Decker’s killing and Mr. Thomes’ death on Wednesday.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office or the BCA.
BCA Superintendent Wade Setter said that while Thomes is a person of interest in the shooting of Officer Decker, this is still an active and ongoing investigation.
“BCA agents and Stearns County Sheriff’s Office investigators continue to work every lead in a methodical and thorough manner,” Setter said. “We are determined to fully reconstruct the events that led to Officer Decker’s murder.”
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office are conducting the investigation with assistance from the Cold Spring Police Department, the FBI and several other agencies.
Posted to the web by Krista Burns