The police officer shot while responding to a call in Waseca Monday night has been identified as 32-year-old Arik Matson.
Officer Matson was among four Waseca Police Department officers to respond to a call of a suspicious person with a flashlight in the back yard of a residence in the 900 block of 4th Ave. SE, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said in an update Tuesday morning.
The responding officers located a 37-year-old suspect at a neighboring property in the 900 block of 3rd Ave. SE, and at one point during the encounter Matson was shot in the head and gravely injured.
The other Waseca officers then fired on the suspect, striking him twice.
Matson and the suspect were airlifted to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, where Matson remains in critical but stable condition. The suspect suffered injuries that are not life-threatening.
"This is the worst nightmare a law enforcement agency can face, and we're living it right now," said Waseca Chief of Police Penny Vought.
Matson, who is married and a father, has been with the police force since 2013, with Vought saying he's assigned to the patrol unit and local SWAT team, in addition to being a "much beloved Waseca PD DARE officer."
Matson is the son of retired Albert Lea officer Tim Matson, with the Star Tribune reporting that Matson previously provided security for the Minnesota Vikings when the NFL team trained in Mankato.
BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said the suspect, who has not been formally charged, had an outstanding warrant. Because the investigation is ongoing, the BCA has not released information about where the suspect was shot, nor have they said what type of firearm was used to shoot Matson.
"It was simply a call of a suspicious individual with a flashlight," said Evans.
"The work of our police officers can be exceptionally difficult and unpredictable. Dealing with illicit illegal drug use and trafficking, people suffering from mental illness, and felony crimes perpetrated by evil people far too often place the lives of those who protect and serve at risk," said Minnesota's 1st District Rep. Jim Hagedorn.
Waseca has a population of just under 9,000 people and the police department employs 18 people, including Matson.