ST. JOSEPH -- For the last several months, the hearts of many central Minnesotans have weighed heavily following the murder of Cold Spring Police Officer Tom Decker. But, it was 17 years ago today that the community lost another officer in a senseless killing.

It was about 9:15 p.m. on the night of January 29th 1996 when St. Joseph Police Officer Brian Klinefelter made a traffic stop on Stearns County Road 75. Officer Klinefelter was stopping a pickup truck that was believed to be involved in an Albany liquor store robbery just minutes before.

Klinefelter was shot several times as he made contact with the driver of the truck and his two passengers. The truck sped off, leaving Klinefelter lying on the frozen pavement bleeding to death. Klinefelter died at the scene.

Later, responding officers shot and killed the triggerman, Thomas Kantor. His two accomplices, Brian Ederhoff and Kenneth Roering were arrested and charged with first degree murder.

Ederhoff accepted a plea bargain and was sentenced to prison with the possibility of release after 24 years with good behavior. Roering later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

In the aftermath of his death, a foundation was created in memory of officer Klinefelter. In remembrance of officer Klinefelter's service, the new McDonald's restaurant in St. Joseph will donate a portion of today's sales to the Brian Klinefelter Foundation.