With flags flown at half-staff today in remembrance of Cold Spring police officer Tom Decker, Wright County Sheriff's Office deputies and the department's honor guard are making their way to his funeral this morning.
Up to 3,000 people are expected at the service, according to the Pioneer Press. The service is set for 11 a.m. at St. John's Abbey and University Church in Collegeville.
Decker, 31, was killed by gunshots late Thursday night while on-duty when authorities say he was ambushed in a Cold Spring alley. , as the evidence that was "not even close," investigators said. The search for the suspect continues.
Wright County Sheriff's Office deputies were alerted of the shooting that night, as were all law enforcement in the area, said Greg Howell, Wright County Sheriff's Office captain.
"In the days following the homicide, we have assisted Cold Spring and Stearns County with help for their day-to-day law enforcement needs by covering some of their patrol shifts," Howell said.
Governor Mark Dayton ordered all U.S. flags flown at state and federal buildings to fly half-staff today, until sunset, in remembrance of Decker.
Decker was a six-year veteran of the Cold Spring Police Department. He was a native of Cold Spring, and "considered working for his hometown police force his dream job," stated a news release from Dayton's office.
"Officer Decker was conscientious, brave, and known for his gregarious sense of humor," the release continued. "Officer Tommy Decker died a hero on November 29, 2012, after being shot in the line of duty. Officer Tommy Decker was an exemplary police officer, and was admired and respected by his colleagues"
Decker received the Cold Spring Police Department’s Special Commendation for heroism.
Decker is preceded in death by his sister, Susie, and is survived by his wife, Alicia; four children: Kelly, Jade, Justin and Devon; parents, Rosella and John; siblings: Eddie, Larry, Terry, Billy, Shelly and Joey; and many other relatives, friends and community members.
Officers will celebrate his life at the service today "with full police honors."
After the service, law enforcement will participate in two processions through the community, according to the St. Cloud Times.
The first procession will include officers and first responders from outside Stearns County. The second will include Decker's casket, family and friends, and all Stearns County officers.
Decker's casket will travel from Collegeville's St. John's Abbey through communities where he worked and lived. A horse-drawn carriage will then bring him to St. Nicholas Cemetery in New Market, Minn.
Contributions or donations to the Tom Decker Memorial Fund can be made at all Wells Fargo locations.