Man questioned in cop killing hangs self

Jan. 4, 2013 at 8:37 PM

COLD SPRING, Minn., Jan. 4 (UPI) -- A man questioned in the slaying of a police officer in Cold Spring, Minn., hanged himself during a standoff with police, authorities said Friday.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Eric J. Thomes, 31, who it labeled a "person of interest" in the Nov. 29 shooting death of officer Thomas Decker, killed himself Wednesday in a metal outbuilding at his home near Cold Spring, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The shotgun used to kill Decker behind Winners Bar in downtown Cold Spring was found on property to which Thomes had access but authorities declined to say where that was, the newspaper said.

The BCA has not said it had determined Thomes was the person who killed the 31-year-old law enforcement officer.

Ryan Larson, who lives in an apartment above the bar, had been arrested in the shooting and later released for lack of evidence.

BCA Superintendent Wade Setter said at a Friday afternoon news conference in nearby St. Cloud that investigators had interviewed Thomes several times based on a tip and had found "inconsistencies" in what he told them.

Thomes fled to the outbuilding when agents showed up to talk to him again and ignored repeated calls for him to come out over a period of hours before he killed himself.

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