A prom shooting outside a Wisconsin high school on Saturday night left two students injured and the gunman dead.
The teenage shooter reportedly used to attend Antigo High School, where the prom was being held on Saturday night. Residents of Antigo, Wisconsin, are shocked by the prom shooting, saying Antigo is a small farm town where everyone knows each other.
CNN reports that Antigo is a small town located less than 100 miles northwest of Green Bay, Wisconsin, with a population of about 8,000 residents. Sonia Reed, a 12-year resident of Antigo, Wisconsin, whose son, Matthew, attends Antigo High School, said that she wouldn’t be surprised to hear of a prom shooting in a bigger city and was shocked something like that unfolded in such a small town with happy students.
Reed, who moved from Texas to Wisconsin in 2004, describes Antigo as “a farm town where many students happily participate in Drive Your Tractor to School Day.” According to Reed, more than 100 students attended Antigo High School’s prom king and queen announcement Saturday evening before prom. The atmosphere during the “grand march” was festive, with nothing suspicious going on, Reed told WSAW-TV out of north-central Wisconsin.
In fact, Reed had no qualms about her teenage son attending prom later that evening. “I didn’t see anything suspicious. I didn’t feel any bad vibes. It seemed like it was going to be a normal prom,” said Reed. Reed’s son, Matthew, only one of her three high school-age children, had reportedly already left the high school before the prom shooting took place just before midnight.
The Wisconsin prom shooting suspect, identified as 18-year-old Jakob E. Wagner, a former Antigo High School student, arrived at the prom around 11 p.m. Saturday evening wearing camouflage pants and a dark top and armed with a “high-powered rifle and a large ammunition clip.” Antigo officers, who were on campus during prom patrolling the high school parking lot, heard Wagner open fire some distance outside the entrance of the building where prom was being held. Quick action by one of the officers left only two injuries and one fatality after the Wisconsin prom shooting.
Antigo Police Chief, Eric Roller, said that Wagner was fatally shot by the unidentified officer, but only after Wagner managed to shoot and wound two students as they were leaving the building. Both students, one male and one female, received non-life threatening injuries. Wagner, who police believe was a lone shooter at the prom, died just after 1 a.m. Sunday morning at Aspirus Wausau Hospital in Wausau, Wisconsin, about 35 miles from where the prom shooting took place. A statement released by Antigo police said that a search warrant had been issued for Wagner’s home, where he lived with his mother and grandparents.
Police aren’t saying more than that pending an investigation led by the state’s Department of Justice, and school officials published an explanation to parents and guardians on the Unified School District of Antigo Facebook page following the Wisconsin prom shooting, saying “a police investigation is continuing, and details of the incident cannot be released until that is complete.”
The statement went on to say that school officials had arranged police to be present during the Antigo High School Prom, and that the shooter never gained access to the building thanks to immediate intervention by a nearby officer.
“All prom attendees are safe, thanks to the quick police response and their securing the building. Counseling services will be available in all schools tomorrow, Monday, for students and staff who may have been traumatized by this terrible incident. We are thankful police and staff acted quickly together to prevent this incident from becoming a major tragedy. Our first obligation is the safety of your children.”
Antigo High School set up counseling to be available on Monday to students and staff who were traumatized by Saturday night’s prom shooting, but Reed said her children do not want to go back.
“I have two other children that’s in the high school, and they don’t want to go back, period. They’re just beyond freaking out here.”
But Police Chief Roller assures the community is safe, saying “At this point, we feel that we have the subject in custody that was a threat.” Roller went on to say that the victims were shot at random and were attending prom and leaving prom together when they were both shot in the leg by Wagner.
“The male victim is an Antigo High School student; the female was his date and attends school out-of-state.”
The Chicago Tribune reports that Jakob E. Wagner was a senior at Antigo High School in 2015, but did not graduate. Friends of Wagner are shocked that he is the lone Wisconsin prom shooting suspect. Dakotta Mills, who had known Wagner since the sixth grade, said that Wagner was a “good kid” who loved video games and music, and had been in the school marching band.
Students at Antigo, Wis. will resume classes two days after a prom shooting that hurt two and left the gunman dead. https://t.co/uT46tKZLwq— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 25, 2016
Police have not confirmed a motive for the Wisconsin prom shooting, but Mills said that Wagner had developed an interest in guns. According to 2015 Antigo High School graduate, Dylan Dewey, one possible motive for the prom shooting is a girl who attends Antigo High School that Wagner was dating until she broke up with him last month.
[Image via TomoNews US/YouTube screenshot]