Suspect in Minn. officer shooting fled across roof before firing, complaint says

Meanwhile, the wounded officer’s pastor said that Arik Matson, while still in critical condition, is doing better than expected


John Reinan
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WASECA, Minn. — The man accused of shooting a Waseca police officer Monday night fled from officers across a rooftop before opening fire on them, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the wounded officer’s pastor said that Arik Matson, while still in critical condition Wednesday, is doing better than expected.

Waseca police officer Arik Matson. (Photo/Waseca police)
Waseca police officer Arik Matson. (Photo/Waseca police)

“We know that there is hope, and we know there are great chances that he will be OK in the future,” the pastor, Kaleb Hurley, said in a video posted on Facebook with the consent of Matson’s family.

Tyler R. Janovsky, 37, was charged in Waseca County Court with three counts of first-degree attempted murder of a police officer and one count of possessing ammunition or a firearm after conviction of a crime of violence. All are felonies.

In the gunfight, Matson, 32, was shot in the head and “gravely wounded,” according to police. He remains in critical condition at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale.

According to the complaint, four officers were dispatched about 8 p.m. Monday to a neighborhood near downtown Waseca after a suspicious person with a flashlight was seen roaming backyards in the area. They spotted a man on the back balcony of a house.

As three officers circled the house, a fourth entered the home and stepped onto the balcony to confront Janovsky, who jumped onto the rear of the garage roof and scrambled to the front side of the garage, where Matson was standing in the driveway.

Janovsky fired a handgun at Matson, hitting him in the head, the complaint says. He also fired his gun “in the area” of two of the other officers.

The officers returned fire, striking Janovsky twice. They then captured him and took his gun.

Janovsky has a long criminal record, including convictions for burglary, drug crimes and terroristic threats. At the time of Monday’s shooting, there was a warrant for his arrest on charges involving methamphetamine production.

His criminal history in Minnesota also includes a conviction as an accessory to murder in the 2001 strangulation of a 21-year-old man in Truman, Minn., about 65 miles from Waseca. Janovsky admitted driving Morgan Schulz to the victim’s home and waiting outside while Schulz killed Rickey Buker. Janovsky was given a 3 ¼-year term.

Meanwhile, a prayer event is planned for Thursday night at Hope Church in Albert Lea, Matson’s hometown and where his family attends church. Matson and his wife, Megan, have two young daughters and live in nearby Freeborn, where Matson is a member of the City Council and serves as a volunteer firefighter. Further details on the prayer event were unavailable Wednesday evening.

In a video posted on the church’s Facebook page, Hurley conveyed a message of hope on behalf of the Matson family.

“We know that Arik has been lifted up in prayer,” Hurley said. “We know that he is still alive. We know that surgery was actually very successful.

“And we know that there is still a long journey ahead of Arik in his recovery,” he said. “[But] we do know that there is hope. And we know there are great chances that he will be OK in the future.

“As their pastor, as their friend, and someone who loves them ... help me support this family, No. 1, by simply staying faithful in prayer.”

Hurley said Matson’s condition is “better than what the doctors thought he’d be, or what was anticipated. With every hour, Arik’s condition has been getting better.”

GoFundMe page for the Matson family had raised more than $119,000 by Wednesday night.

©2020 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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