Just days after a gunman opened fire outside of the Antigo High School prom, students returned to class Monday with counselors standing by to help them cope with what police say could have been a much worse tragedy.
An officer shot 18-year-old Jakob Wagner of Antigo outside the school Saturday night, while the former student was firing a rifle at prom goers. He hit two – a boy who attends the school and his date, a girl from Madison. Both had non-life threatening injuries. Police said the girl was treated and released for a graze wound to her thigh, while the boy underwent surgery this weekend and is now recovering. Wagner died Sunday morning at a Wausau hospital.
The family of one of the victims, an 18-year-old student at the school, issued a statement Monday thanking the community for their support. “Please continue to pray for (the victim), his girlfriend, two friends, fellow classmates, and everyone else involved as they recover from this traumatic night. Please also pray fro the family of Jakob Wagner. As much as we are struggling through this event, we cannot imagine the grief they are experiencing at this time.”
During a news conference Monday afternoon, Antigo Police Chief Eric Roller praised the officer who responded quickly to the sound of gunfire. “We were there at the right moment, and it saved a lot of lives,” he said.
Antigo High School Principal Tom Zamzow also thanked police, students, and volunteers for their response to the shooting, noting that students remained calm, orderly, and safe in the aftermath of the event.
Counselors from several agencies were at school Monday to support students who may need help coping with the shooting. “It’s going well,” Zamzow said, also pointing out that attendance had not seemed to suffer too much from those worried about the potential for any additional violence. “It definitely is a different mood in the building, but students are making the best of it,” he said.
Officials have not commented on a motive for the shooting, although several news outlets reported that Wagner had long been a target of bullying. Zamzow declined to comment on Wagner’s time as a student at the high school, before he graduated last year.
The state Division of Criminal Investigations is handling the ongoing investigation, due to the officer-involved nature of the shooting.