Two years later, Matson reflects on how life has changed

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(ABC 6 News) – It’s been two years since Waseca Police Officer Arik Matson was shot in the head and critically injured while in the line of duty.

January 6, 2020, Matson was responding to a call of a suspicious person when the incident happened. Since then, he’s undergone reconstructive surgery, speech and physical therapy and was finally able to return home in October 2020.

"I’m blessed that I was able to get an opportunity to go down there and learn to walk again," said Matson.

Following the shooting, Matson underwent several months of treatment out of state. Once the pandemic hit, his treatment had to be put on pause. Fundraisers helped pay bills, and the community donated a golf cart to help with Matson’s mobility. An at-home nurse helps his wife Megan have some sense of separation between caregiver, and being a wife, and mom.

"Anything, that if I’m not able to assist Arik, and also, giving me that separation between a wife and a caretaker," said Megan. "That is a huge reason why we were gifted with a nurse. So that we could still have that separation but connection."

Since returning home, Matson was named the 2020 Officer of the Year by the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association. Minnesota lawmakers also passed the Arik Matson bill, strengthening the penalties for people convicted of assaulting an officer. His two girls, Audrina and Maklynn are understanding of their dad’s situation and are grateful he’s still here.

"We try to teach our girls is that every time a good fortune comes our family’s way, is always be nice because it’s going to come back around and reward you," said Arik. "So whenever you get a chance, just put your best foot forward."

As for the man who shot Matson, Tyler Janovsky was sentenced in 2020 to 35 years for two counts of first-degree attempted murder of a peace officer. He was also ordered to pay nearly $500,000 in restitution.