Waseca police officer Arik Matson, shot in the head while chasing a suspect in January, is coming home to a hero’s welcome next week after extended time out of state for therapy.
Police Chief Penny Vought on Wednesday invited the public to line State Street from Waseca High School to the Police Department downtown for the 33-year-old Matson’s return about noon on Monday.
Emergency vehicles will escort Matson along the street “so he can see all that came to greet him,” the chief wrote in a statement posted on Facebook.
A similar parade is scheduled for roughly 3 p.m. Monday 25 miles to the south in Freeborn, where Arik and Megan Matson live with their two daughters, said family friend Abbey Jacobsen.
To commemorate Matson’s return from Nebraska, “Thin Blue Line” wrist bands will be given away between now and Monday at the Police Department, each adorned with 22 stars. The stars represent Matson’s badge number of 222.
“The day we have hoped for is finally almost here,” Vought said. “Arik will soon be home with his family, his law enforcement family and his friends. We have missed him tremendously and will continue to support him as he recovers from his injuries.”
The chief went on to “acknowledge and express our deepest gratitude to the first responders, doctors and nurses who saved his life” as well as the current and former law enforcement officers “who watched over him at various facilities.”
In Megan Matson’s most recent update on Caringbridge.org regarding Arik’s physical progress, she wrote, “We have been working on walking together/car transfers/in and out of the restroom/to getting dressed along with daily life skills. Arik is moving in the right direction slowly but surely … He is very excited to be coming home soon and continuing his [therapies] here in MN for the long months to come ahead.”
She added a comment from her husband that read, “Make a relationship with your pastor, so when you need the power of prayer or need them the most during a season of your life, they will be there for you through your darkest and lightest moments. See you all soon.”
Matson was shot on Jan. 6 as he and the other officers responded to a call about a suspicious person in a neighborhood. A search warrant affidavit filed in the case against Tyler R. Janovsky read that he “had discussed his desire and intent to commit ‘suicide by cop.’ ”
Janovsky, 38, pleaded guilty in Waseca County District Court in July to two counts of attempted first-degree murder involving a police officer. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 6 before Judge Christine Long.
Janovsky remains in Oak Park Heights prison for a burglary conviction in Otter Tail County. His criminal record includes convictions for drug crimes, terroristic threats and accessory to murder. At the time of Matson’s shooting, Janovsky was wanted on charges involving methamphetamine production.