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'Worst nightmare a law enforcement agency can face': Waseca officer shot in head, in critical condition

Updated: January 08, 2020 05:47 AM

A Waseca police officer hurt in a shooting Monday night has been identified.

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The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed 32-year-old Arik Matson was involved in a shooting incident just after 8 p.m. on the 900 block of Third Avenue Southeast.

The BCA reported four officers responded to the scene after receiving a report of a suspicious person in the area. Upon arrival, officers encountered a man who fired a shot that struck Matson, according to the BCA. Officers then returned fire.


Photo courtesy of the BCA.


A source at the scene told KSTP's Beth McDonough Matson was shot in the head, which the BCA confirmed as well Tuesday during a news conference. Matson was taken by air ambulance to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale. Matson remains in critical condition, according to the BCA.

According to the department, Matson joined the Waseca Police Department as a part-time officer in 2013. He then became a full-time officer in 2015.

"This is the worst nightmare a law enforcement agency can face," Waseca Police Chief Penny Vought said during the news conference Tuesday.

Source: Officer shot in head, suspect hurt in Waseca incident

Abbey Hullopeter, a family friend, said she was praying Matson was safe as word started to spread that an officer had been shot Monday night.

"When I found it was, I was honestly devastated, sick to my stomach, my heart just shattered," Hullopeter said.

"Arik's a fighter ... he's not going to give up," she added. "Thankful he's alive ... it's just heart-wrenching."

Freeborn Fire Chief Steve Seipp said he text messaged Matson Monday night after he heard an officer had been shot. He never heard back.

Warrant: Suspect in Waseca officer shooting was wanted on new drug charges

Seipp said Matson has been a firefighter in town for seven years, plus he serves on city council.

"He meets a stranger who doesn't want to talk, Arik's got a way of getting them to talk, he's always trying to help somebody," Seipp said. "You can't find a better guy."

As they wait for updates on Matson's condition, Seipp said prayer is helping the community.

"The prayers need to keep coming, going out for him, we just have to hope for the best," said Seipp.

At North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale Tuesday, it became evident that when one officer is injured in the line of duty, others who wear the badge are impacted too, "I'm thankful he's alive," said one officer who didn't want to be identified.

Even everyday citizens and patients in the emergency room, noticed, "I've seen sheriffs and police officers all day."   Loraine Brann, Minneapolis, said they were wearing different uniforms and representing various cities and stopped by to check-in on the officer who cared about community and was critically injured above an eye by a felons bullet, "it's a shame because the bad guy will prevail in all of this and he'll be ok and the officer will sufffer for the rest of his life, it's a shame," replied Brann. 


Courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Corrections, 2019.


Meanwhile, a suspect in the shooting was taken by ambulance to North Memorial Health Hospital as well. The suspect, identified by the BCA as 37-year-old Tyler Robert Janovsky, was shot twice during the incident and was being treated for injuries that are not life-threatening.

On social media, Congressman Jim Hagedorn said he spoke with Matson's father.

"On behalf of all southern Minnesotans, I offered our deepest concerns and prayers for Arik and his family," Hagedorn wrote.

A GoFundMe account has been created for Officer Matson and his family by Hullopeter. As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, it had surpassed $50,000.

Editor's Note: The Minnesota BCA identified the suspect as Tyler Robert Jonovsky. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has confirmed, through previous charging documents, that the suspect's name is Tyler Robert Janovsky. 

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Credits

Rebecca Omastiak & Beth McDonough

Copyright 2020 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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