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Members of the Waseca football team walk off the field in the fourth quarter of a non-district game against Rocori on Friday, Oct. 16 night in Waseca. The Bluejays lost to the defending Class 4A champs, 28-20. (Photo courtesy of Waseca Football Association)

Injured officer returns to a snowy welcome home
  • Updated

Waseca Police Office Arik Matson smiled and waved to the crowd as he rode down State Street in a Waseca police vehicle.

Despite some October snow flurries, area students, business owners, law enforcement, residents and visitors filled State Street Monday afternoon to welcome Matson home following nine months in rehabilitation after being was shot in the head while responding to a call on Jan. 6. Waseca High School hockey players wore their Matson jerseys as they lined the sidewalk to show their support as well.

A parade of emergency vehicles escorted the 33-year-old Matson to the Waseca Public Safety building.

“He’s a great guy, so happy to see him come home finally after nine months,” said Dominic Dreyling, who was among the crowd gathered on State Street.

Dreyling and Dan Barnick, Albert Lea residents, know Matson and his family and wanted to show their support by attending the welcome home parade for Matson.

Officials from the Waseca Fire Department, North Memorial Health Ambulance, Minnesota State Patrol, Waseca County Sheriff’s Office, Waseca Police Department and other agencies participated in the parade while the member of VFW Post 1642 and American Legion Post 228 stood outside the courthouse with flags to welcome him home as he rode by.

The parade ended at the Public Safety building, where the Waseca Police and Fire departments are housed.

Matson walked into the building, which had a welcome home banner hanging on it, where his coworkers and family waited to welcome him home.

Matson was seriously wounded Jan. 6 when he and three other Waseca officers responded to a report of a suspicious person. The suspect, Tyler Robert Janovsky, 38, of Waseca, was shot by officers, but sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Matson spent months in rehab relearning the most basic skills. He underwent several surgeries following the shooting and suffered a traumatic brain injury. In August he was hospitalized following two grand mal seizures.

At the time of the shooting, Janovsky had a warrant out for his arrest and had been on supervised release for a 2010 drug conviction, according to a previous Waseca County News article. According to court records, police found materials for a potential methamphetamine lab, as well as drugs and a loaded handgun at his Waseca residence in December.

Janovsky pleaded guilty in July to two counts of attempted murder of a police officer and is expected to be sentenced Nov. 6 to 35 years in prison.

Waseca Vision 2030 starts the Waseca Cares campaign.

(Bailey Grubish/Southernminn.com)

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NRHEG Board of Educators are seeking a referendum to pass on the 2020 ballot. If the referendum passes an additional $560 per pupil annually is added over a 10 year span. (File photo/Southernminn.com)