Two young students were shot in Antigo, Wisconsin, as they were leaving the prom and the suspect was shot and killed by a police officer. Proms are supposed to be the highlight of a young person’s life, a beautiful event that most look back on with fond memories. It tops up there with graduation, but tragedy struck, and it left this community of about 8,000 residents in shock.
The suspected prom gunman was Jakob Wagner, 18, who attended Antigo High School last year. CNN reported that Jakob arrived at the high school with a rifle in hand. The incident happened around 11 p.m. as students were leaving the building. Police happened to be patrolling in the area when they heard the shots fired and they immediately went to investigate. A patrol officer fired at the gunman, hitting him and taking him down.
Jakob Wagner and his two victims were taken to the nearest hospital for treatment. One bullet grazed the female victim who was treated and released, while the male victim was shot in the leg and had to have surgery. Thankfully, Jakob aimed poorly so the victims did not have life-threatening injuries.
“All the people within the prom were eventually escorted from the school and are safe,” Police Chief Eric Roller told reporters. The Antigo High School was put on lockdown as the police conducted their investigation to determine whether Jakob acted alone or if he had help.
Jakob was the only fatality in the shooting, after he was fatally wounded by the officer. Even though the doctors tried to save his life, Jakob passed away at 1:06 a.m. in an intensive care unit at Wausau hospital.
Law enforcement believed that Jakob Wagner acted alone in the shooting. The police are obtaining a search warrant to search Jakob’s residence for clues as to why he went after prom-goers with a rifle in the first place. The Antigo Police Department posted a statement on their Facebook page about the incident.
“Late Saturday night, at the Antigo High School prom, a subject showed up with a rifle on the outside of the building started shooting, two students from the prom were shot as they exited the building. Officers were in the parking lot patrolling the activities and heard the shots and an officer immediately fired upon the shooter, stopping the threat. The shooter is in custody and all three parties were transported to the hospital. All the people within the prom were eventually escorted from the school and are safe. The victim’s families have been notified. We believe the scene is secure and do not see a further threat to the community at this time.”
Reinhardt Balcerzak, a retired Science teacher told the Wausau Daily Herald, that the kids who attended Antigo high school were “really nice kids,” and during his teaching years, the only thing that happened were an occasional fistfight. “It hasn’t even sunk in yet. I put on Good Morning America and that’s the first thing I saw. I told my wife, ‘I think that’s Antigo.’ It just takes one or two that are angry about something. It’s too bad that’s going to be the memory for those kids. I feel bad that’s their last prom. I feel bad for the ones who were shot and their parents.”
It was fortunate that law enforcement were patrolling the area at that time, preventing what could have been a massacre of young lives. Jakob had in his possession a high-powered rifle and a large ammunition clip, so it appears that he did not want to take out one or two people, but many.
Approximately five hours after the Antigo Police Department issued their first statement, they posted another one on Facebook.
“Saturday night, April 23, 2016, at approximately 11:00 P.M., an individual arrived at the Antigo High School Prom with a rifle and began shooting while outside the entrance to the building. Two students who were attending prom festivities were shot as they exited the building. City of Antigo Officers who were patrolling the parking area heard shots fired, and one of those officers was able to fire upon the shooter stopping the threat to additional attendees. The officer’s immediate response prevented further injuries and possible casualties. The initial investigation and officer response indicate this was a lone shooter and a search warrant is being executed at his residence seeking any additional information pertaining to this incident.”
Dylan Dewey, 18, told the Associated Press that he went to high school with Jakob Wagner and they graduated the same year. Jakob allegedly had been dating a girl from the high school and she recently broke up with him in March. Dylan said that Jakob was an “all-around good guy” who always seemed happy.
Whether the breakup Jakob went through contributed to his decision to shoot at the kids attending prom is unknown, but it would not be the first time that has happened. Dakota Mills, another person who knew Jakob Wagner said that he considered Jakob like a foster brother and they had known each other since sixth grade. Dakota said that Jakob “loved video games, hanging out with friends and music.” Jakob did not have a father, and it is unknown what happened to him, but him mother and grandparents raised him.
Dakota mentioned that Jakob Wagner had an interest in guns and he wanted to go out hunting, but he was not sure if Jakob could afford to buy a gun. Dakota said Jakob completed a hunter safety course a few years ago.
According to Heavy, Jakob Wagner was an honor roll student, and he played in the school’s marching band. However, USA Today reports “a person with the same name and spelling as Wagner’s was listed in an Antigo newspaper as a high school senior in 2015 who made the honor roll in February of that year.” According to a post on his Instagram page, he marched in the band in October 2015, even though he had already graduated. What Jakob Wagner’s motive was to gun down innocent people apparently died with him, unless he left some sort of clue at his home.
[Image via Instagram]