18-year-old Jakob Wagner was shot and killed by a patrolling police officer after Wagner opened fire on Antigo High School in Wisconsin while the school’s prom was taking place back in April. The officer, Andrew Hopfensperger, was cleared of any wrongdoing with investigators stating that lethal force was justified.
Wagner’s mother has once again taken to the media, this time to address her issue with Officer Hopfensperger.
“It’s extremely hard to see the officer smiling in every picture and, I believe, in an interview recently he said that he doesn’t even think about it anymore and it doesn’t bother him,” said Wagner. “Even if it wasn’t my child, the fact that he… basically cornered somebody and shot nine bullets at them, and six of them went into the school and it doesn’t bother him, is kind of wrong.”
Everyone is free to grieve in their own way, however it’s ignorant to think that any policeman is unaffected by shooting and killing another human being, let alone an 18-year-old kid. Even though police live their job 24/7 and it affects them, they can’t let events like this rule them to the point of ineffectiveness. I have no doubt that this shooting took its toll on him but being a professional, he still had to go out and face the public that he was sworn to protect.
Many officers have retried and have had mental issues after a shooting like this. The fact that Officer Hopfensperger is still working is a testament to his resolve.
(Thanks to Lady Gray for her editorial assistance)
The mother of Antigo High School shooter Jakob Wagner is claiming that her son was not committing a school shooting but was there to commit what’s known as ‘suicide by cop’. She claims that her son was so adept with guns that if he wanted to kill someone, those he shot would be dead. I can’t dismiss that as a possible scenario but the fact remains that he did shoot two people who luckily survived their injuries. What would have happened if the police officer patrolling the school parking lot wasn’t there? Would he have continued shooting people until there was a police response? How many people was he willing to kill in order for the police to kill him? While I can’t dismiss that as a possible motive I don’t buy it either.
On another note however, the bullying trope is being wheeled out yet again…
Despite being an inquisitive, bright child, Jakob Wagner struggled in elementary school. He lacked focus in school, sometimes fell asleep in class and didn’t want to go to school because other children teased about the way he talked.
“He had a lisp, and there were kids who picked on him for that,” his mother said.
Initially, the bullying was about the lisp and progressed to taunts about his short stature, his personal hygiene, his reluctance to participate in class and sports and the simple fact that he was poor.
Yet later on in the article she talks about how many friends he had in high school and how the bullying had lessened.
What the news doesn’t seem to be fixated on is an incident where he killed the family pet bird with a BB gun in a rage, apologized to his mother about it, then had no recollection of it the next day.
But yeah let’s blame bullying rather than mental illness.
Wagner was very close to receiving his diploma. If he had just bided his time he wouldn’t have had to deal with the school anymore. Instead he gave in to his selfish desire to inflict violence on others. A hard life is no excuse for a mass shooting. If it were most of us would either be dead or in jail.
UPDATE 7/31/2016: Earlier this month, prosecutors cleared the police officer of any wrongdoing saying that lethal force was justified.
From the ‘That Didn’t Take Long’ Department the Wausau Daily Herald is reporting that Antigo High prom shooter Jakob Wagner was bullied. A former classmate of Wagner’s said that he was bullied since middle school because of his poor hygiene. While I would never condone bullying if someone has poor hygiene habits for more than four years they’re kind of inviting trouble on themselves. I also wonder how many former classmates they had to talk to before someone mentioned the ‘b’ word.
The same classmate also said that Wagner had an unhealthy obsession with guns. Not the Midwestern hunting type obsession but more like the Adam Lanza type obsession. I wouldn’t be surprised if some time down the line someone claims that he had Asperger’s.
I can commiserate with kids who are bullied. I was bullied for 12 years just because I was smaller than everyone else. However I’d like to offer these kids something they don’t have and that’s the wisdom of experience. It may feel like getting out of school will never happen but in reality it’s just a blip on the timeline of your life. Also if you resort to this level of violence not only have you let the bullies win but you become the ultimate bully yourself.
UPDATE 4/28/2016: Unified School District of Antigo interim district administrator (longest title ever) Donald B. Childs says that there is no evidence of bullying in this situation. He also says that ‘the media is at fault for reporting that Wagner was bullied’. He’s not wrong. If you read the article I just linked to it seems that the USA Today family of newspapers are pushing the bullying issue more than it deserves to be.
Also the police seized a journal and teen suicide reading materials, whatever they are, among other items from Wagner’s home.
Last night in Antigo, Wisconsin, 18-year-old Jakob Wagner opened fire on two people leaving the prom at Antigo High School. A male and a female student were struck but both sustained non-life threatening injuries. A police officer who was already at the school patrolling the parking lot heard the shots and returned fire at Wagner. Wagner later died from his injuries at a local hospital. A school district administrator said that Wagner was supposed to have graduated last year but was continuing to work on his diploma. The same administrator also believed that Wagner planned on entering the prom and opening fire there. He doesn’t believe that Wagner was targeting his two victims. So far I have yet to hear of a motive however some reports say that Wagner had recently broken up with a girl who attends the school.
Not that anyone asked but on the Trench Reynolds classification scale I do consider this to be a school shooting rather than a shooting at school. The crime did take place at the school and seems to fit the description of a ‘typical’ school shooting. The only thing unusual about it was that it took place during a prom. To my recollection that’s the first time I can recall a shooting of that type taking place at a prom. While the victims’ injuries were not as grave as they could have been, if Wagner had not been stopped by the officer we could be talking today about a massacre instead of ‘just’ a shooting. Also please understand that my use of the words typical, unusual and just to describe this shooting is not meant to lessen the impact of this crime. Unfortunately in this day and age we do have ‘typical’ school shootings whether you want to believe that or not.
One thing that does appear to be typical about this shooting is that it seems another selfish man-child has thrown his life away by using violence to deal with his own inadequacies.