'He's a fighter': Waseca community rallies behind Officer Matson

Officer Arik Matson was injured in a shooting Monday in Waseca, Minnesota. ( Credit: Abbey Hullopeter )

Arik Matson is an officer with the Waseca Police Department, but his service extends much further. He’s also a volunteer firefighter, a council member and a devoted dad. 

Now, he’s fighting for his life after he was shot Monday night while responding to a call in a residential area. The suspect was also shot and transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

“He’s one of the officers that always smiles,” said Chief Deputy Todd Earl with the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office.

“He is one of the kindest persons I know…one of the most caring. He’s dedicated to helping people,” added Chief Steve Seipp with the Freeborn Fire Department.

Earl worked with Matson's dad, who was an Albert Lea police officer, and later worked directly with Matson at the Freeborn Sheriff’s Office during his first years in law enforcement.

“He is always the person you want to be around," Earl said.

When Matson isn’t helping at the Waseca Police Department, he’s volunteering for the Freeborn Fire Department. 

“He’s just one of those guys who aspired to be helpful and be active and be a part of the community," Steve said.

On top of his service, he is also a devoted dad. 

“If you see Arik’s photo on the GoFundMe page, it shows you what kind of person he is, what kind of dad he is,” Earl said. “His daughters just adore him, and I’m sure they’re looking forward to his recovery and getting their dad back.” 

“We know he will be back. He’s a fighter. He will be okay,” Steve added.

Matson has been with the Waseca Police Department since 2013, according to Waseca Police Chief Penny Vought. He is assigned to the patrol team and is part of the South Central Drug Investigation Unit. He is also the local Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) officer. 

In addition to the GoFundMe, community members are also selling t-shirts to benefit his family.

Statement from Waseca Intermediate School:

Officer Matson is everything any school could ask for in a DARE representative. He uses the DARE platform to teach students about making responsible/healthy decisions regarding drugs, alcohol and life in general. DARE truly is most of our students' first opportunity to interact with law enforcement. There could not be a stronger liaison between the law enforcement community and the schools. Waseca Intermediate 5th grade students witness a kind, caring, and personable police officer every week for an 11-week period every year. Officer Matson builds relationships and trust with every student he works with. His ability to connect and relate with elementary students allows him to make a tremendous impact. He has made a positive impact on nearly a thousand students over the past several years. Our staff and student body are wishing Arik health and recovery and want to thank all the amazing law enforcement community for the sacrifices made to keep our community safe and secure.