An 18-year-old man has opened fire with a high-powered rifle outside a high school prom in northern Wisconsin, wounding two students before a police officer who was in the parking lot fatally shot him.
Investigators did not say on Sunday whether they believe the two students were specifically targeted or discuss a possible motive for the shooting.
But a school administrator said it appeared that the gunman – identified by police as Jakob E Wagner – intended to go into the dance on Saturday night and start shooting randomly.
The two prom-goers who were wounded were shot as the exited the building, according to Eric Roller, the chief of police in Antigo, a community of about 8000 people roughly 150 miles north of Milwaukee.
“Officers were in the parking lot patrolling the activities and heard the shots and an officer immediately fired upon the shooter, stopping the threat,” Roller said.
He said the gunman was then taken into custody but Wagner died at a hospital.
In a statement, the Unified School District of Antigo said Wagner approached the school with a high-powered rifle and a large ammunition clip.
The district 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.”
Interim district administrator Donald B. Childs told The Associated Press on Sunday that it appears Wagner intended to go into the building and shoot at people at the dance.
“We have no reason to believe at this point it was targeting anybody specifically,” Childs said, adding that the shooting outside the entrance happened “from some distance.”