Minn. officer 'severely wounded' in ambush
Officer Arik Matson was responding to a report of a suspicious person when the suspect shot him in the head
WASECA, Minn. — A police officer in southern Minnesota was gravely injured when he was shot in the head while responding to a report of a suspicious person, officials said Tuesday.
Officer Arik Matson, 32, was shot at about 8 p.m. Monday in Waseca, and was taken by air to a hospital in Robbinsdale, where he was in critical but stable condition Tuesday, according to Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans.
The suspect, 37-year-old Tyler Robert Janovsky, was shot twice by other officers at the scene and was flown to the same hospital. Evans said Janovsky's injuries were not life-threatening. He has not been charged.
Matson and three other officers were responding to a call of a suspicious person with a flashlight in a residential backyard, Evans said. Officers saw Janovsky on a neighboring property, and “at one point during the encounter with him, Officer Matson was shot. Officers then shot Mr. Janovsky," he said.
Evans said authorities are still piecing together why Janovsky was in the backyard. He did not live at the house. Janovsky has an active warrant for drug-related charges, but the officers didn't know who they were dealing with when they were first called to the scene.
Janovsky has several previous convictions, including for burglary, drug crimes and for making terrorist threats. He also was convicted of one count of being an accessory to murder, in connection with a 2001 case, court records show.
Waseca police officers do not wear body cameras, but Evans said authorities will determine whether there is squad camera video of the incident.
Matson has been with the Waseca Police Department since 2013 and is assigned to patrol. He is also a member of a regional drug investigative SWAT team and worked in a program designed to keep kids away from drugs, Chief Penny Vought said. He is married and is a father.
“This is the worst nightmare a law enforcement agency can face,” Vought said. “And we're living it right now.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn tweeted Tuesday that he spoke with Matson's father, a retired officer, overnight.
“On behalf of all southern Minnesotans, I offered our deepest concerns and prayers for Arik and his family," Hagedorn tweeted.
Officials are expected to provide an update on Officer Matson's condition later this morning. I communicated with Arik's father, retired Officer Tim Matson, overnight. On behalf of all southern Minnesotans, I offered our deepest concerns and prayers for Arik and his family.— Congressman Jim Hagedorn (@RepHagedorn) January 7, 2020
The work of our police officers can be exceptionally difficult and unpredictable. Dealing with illegal drug use and trafficking, people suffering from mental illness, and felony crimes perpetrated by evil people too often place the lives of those who protect and serve at risk.— Congressman Jim Hagedorn (@RepHagedorn) January 7, 2020
The vast majority of southern Minnesotans and all Americans respect and admire the work and courage of our police and law enforcement community.— Congressman Jim Hagedorn (@RepHagedorn) January 7, 2020
To our men and women in Blue: We appreciate you and have your backs!
According to the Star Tribune, Matson became a licensed officer in Minnesota in 2010. He joined the Waseca Police Department in 2013 and worked part-time. He became a full-time officer in 2015.
Early in his career, Matson worked at the Freeborn County Sheriff's Office and was on night patrol with his father, Tim Matson, who was then a corporal with the Albert Lea Police Department, the Albert Lea Tribune reported in 2010. The article said Arik Matson also worked security for the Minnesota Vikings when their preseason camp was in Mankato.