Widow of slain Minnesota police officer grateful for supportAlicia Decker, the 24-year-old widow of Cold Spring police officer Tom Decker, says the hardest part about coping with his death is hearing a siren and wondering whether someone else has just been shot.
By: Associated Press report, Associated Press
COLD SPRING, Minn. — Alicia Decker, the 24-year-old widow of Cold Spring police officer Tom Decker, says the hardest part about coping with his death is hearing a siren and wondering whether someone else has just been shot.
“It's hard. It's harder than it ever was before,” said Decker, making her first public comments since her husband was shot to death four months ago. “Tommy would talk about if anything would ever happen to him, and the second he would bring it up I would say, ‘I don't want to talk about it, nothing's ever going to happen to you. No need to have this conversation.’”
Tom Decker, 31, was shot in the head Nov. 29 in an alley behind a Cold Spring bar as he responded to a call about a potentially suicidal man living upstairs.
Alicia Decker recalled waking up to a phone call from her mother that night telling her an officer had been shot. She sprang out of bed, calling anyone she could think of who might have more information. Then she spotted Cold Spring-Richmond Police Chief Phil Jones and other officers standing on her porch.
Her heart sank.
“One of the officers said, ‘It's Tommy.’ My first thought was that we were going to the hospital,” she told the St. Cloud Times.
She asked if her husband was OK.
“The officer shook his head no. And that's when I collapsed,” she said.
The man whom Tom Decker was sent to check on was initially jailed as a suspect but released because of insufficient evidence. The investigation is still ongoing, one reason Alicia Decker has avoided commenting.
She's embroiled in a court dispute with Tom Decker's ex-wife — the mother of his four children — over how to distribute all the donations that came in. She also received payment from a $25,000 life insurance policy. A separate $200,000 policy listed Tom Decker's parents as beneficiaries — an arrangement the couple had an appointment to change within a few weeks of the shooting.
“I just want people to realize I'm not receiving all this money that everyone thinks that I am,” she said. “If I could have it my way, I would have my husband back and you can keep every penny.”
She said life is difficult as a young widow but she copes by praying to Tom, talking about him with other Cold Spring officers and their wives and writing poetry.
She remembers her husband as spontaneous and easy-going, someone who knew how to make people smile and who loved to make balloon animals for children.
“He had that really sensitive side that I was fortunate to have shared with him,” she said.
On a cold December day, more than 2,300 officers in 1,000 squad cars lined up in procession as for her husband's funeral. She called the sight overwhelming, and said she was especially touched because she remembered how Tom Decker went to similar funerals for fallen officers himself.
“He was just so amazed and so grateful how these fallen officers were recognized,” she said. “And he would tear up . It was a beautiful yet very sad situation, and that's what it was for Tommy's funeral. Tommy would have been proud.”