Wisconsin prom shooter was socially awkward, bullied, classmate says

Two Antigo police department vehicles sit outside the front entrance of Antigo High School.

Two Antigo police department vehicles sit outside the front entrance of Antigo High School.  (Fred Berner/Antigo Daily Journal via AP)

The man who shot two students outside of a Wisconsin high school prom on Saturday was socially awkward and bullied because of his poor hygiene, a former classmate told The Wausau Daily Herald.

Jakob Wagner, 18, fired his high-powered rifle hitting two students outside of Antigo High School before police shot him. Wagner later died from his injuries. The two students survived.

Friends said Wagner was a senior at the high school in 2015, but administrators said he did not graduate with his classmates and was continuing to work on his diploma. 

“Ever since we were younger, he was one of the kids you kind of watched out for,” 19-year-old Emily Fisher told The Daily Herald. “If someone was going to shoot the school, we thought it was going to be him.”

As authorities search for a motive in the shocking attack, Fisher painted Wagner as a troubled student who endured years of harassment.

“He was bullied a lot,” said Fisher, an acquaintance of Wagner, though not a self-described close friend.

The tormenting began in middle school and lasted through high school, she said. When Fisher gave Wagner the occasional car ride home, Wagner talked about guns and weapons. He even made models of them in art class.

A school administrator said Wagner may have intended to go into the school dance on Saturday and begin shooting. But police got to Wagner before he could carry out the plot.

"Officers were in the parking lot patrolling the activities and heard the shots and an officer immediately fired upon the shooter, stopping the threat," Antigo Chief of Police Eric Roller said. Wagner was then taken into custody and died at a hospital.

Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement that the actions of the Antigo Police Department "undoubtedly saved lives."

The Unified School District of Antigo said the "quick actions" taken by police and district staff to secure the building "prevented what might have otherwise been a disaster of unimaginable proportions."

As classes resumed on Monday, administrators said students would have access to support from counselors and others. Officials said there will be a heightened police presence around the high school over the next few days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.