WASECA — A Waseca police officer shot Monday night while responding to a call is in critical but stable condition at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, as the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension continues its investigation into the particulars of the incident.
At a press conference Tuesday morning, bureau superintendent Drew Evans identified the officer in question as 32-year-old Arik Matson with the Waseca Police Department. Evans reported that Matson and three other officers were called out to the 900 block of Fourth Avenue SE just before 8 p.m. on Monday, on a report of a suspicious person with a flashlight in one of the backyards.
According to the bureau, officers located the suspect on another property in the adjacent stretch of Third Avenue. In the ensuing confrontation, Evans reported that both Matson and the person in question, identified as Tyler Robert Janovsky of Waseca, sustained gunshot injuries.
“At one point during the encounter with him, Officer Matson was shot. Officers than shot Mr. Janovksy,” Evans said at the press conference.
According to the bureau, Matson was gravely injured when he was shot in the head while Janovsky, 37, was shot twice and sustained non-life threatening injuries. Both men were airlifted to North Memorial and remained in the hospital as of Tuesday morning.
Evans added that Waseca police officers do not wear body cameras, but that his bureau is still in the process of determining whether squad car dash cameras captured any part of the encounter. Police Chief Penny Vought said her department has asked the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to lead the investigation into the incident, “as we focus on Arik.”
According to Evans, his team has not yet met with the other officers to get their version of events, and he said he is still not sure what Janovsky was doing at the scene. The home in the 900 block of Third Avenue where he was apprehended was not his own, according to the bureau.
Waseca police officers do not wear body cameras, Evans said, and the BCA is still in the process of determining whether the officers’ dash cameras captured the details of the incident. No further details have been reported.
Evans said Janovsky is in custody, but that the agency will be working with the county attorney to determine appropriate charges. He added that Janovsky did have an active warrant for drug-related charges, but said that officers did not know this when responding to the scene.
Prior to Monday’s shooting, Janovsky was sentenced to five years in prison in 2017 for burglarizing an Otter Tail County home in the nude. He received credit for 246 days served. Previously, he was convicted as an accessory to murder in the August 2001 death of Rickey Dean Buker of Waseca. Janovsky was sentenced in April 2003 to 39 months in prison, getting credit for 584 days served in jail.
His criminal record dates back to 2000 and includes felony convictions for drug possession and terroristic threats. As recently as Dec. 13, he was charged with felony methamphetamine manufacturing and firearm possession in Waseca.
According to Vought, Matson is the first officer shot in the history of the city’s police department, although Waseca County Sheriff Don Eustice was killed in the line of duty when responding to a domestic call in 1976.
An online fundraiser set up for the Matson family had reached more than $45,000 of its $50,000 goal as of mid-Tuesday afternoon, and was steadily rising — just a few hours after being created. At the press conference, Vought called Matson “a wonderful son, and a devoted husband and father.”
He has served on the force since 2013, and is a member of the department’s patrol and South Central Drug Investigation units. Matson also serves as its D.A.R.E. officer.
While exact details of the evening are being uncovered, Evans told those gathered at Tuesday’s press conference, “We hope to release more information here in the coming days.”