Richland Center Shooting Suspect says, "The Devil Made Me Do It."

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Richland Center: Reuben Wipf is charged with first degree intentional homicide. Police say he shot 19-year old Robert Hege six times with a shotgun.

He is being held on a $200,000 cash bond.

Michael Kleinsasser is the co-owner of A–1 Pallets. He says 21 year old Reuben Wipf and 19 year old Robert Hege worked across from each other at a table assembling pallets.

Kleinsasser says the victim didn't like working with Reuben, saying he was too inconsistent.

Richland Center Police Chief John Annear agrees. "Our investigation has indicated that there has been some workplace friction between the two men–the victim and the suspect."

On the day of the shooting, the two men were called into a meeting in the office. Kleinsasser says Reuben was very respectful, but shortly after the meeting he quit and demanded his last paycheck.

Chief Annear tracked Wipf's next move. "He left A–1 Pallets, went to his residence in rural Richland County, retrieved and loaded a shotgun, came back to the A–1 Pallet facility where he shot the victim, Robert Hege."

Kleinsasser says Reuben emptied 6 shells from his 12 gauge shotgun into Robert, the first one to the back of the head.

He says the other workers scattered, but one man said, "Please don't shoot me."

Police say Reuben had more shells, but he left without reloading. "He put the gun back in his vehicle, left the facility, and drove directly to the Sheriff's Department where he turned himself in to Sheriff's deputies," says Chief Annear.

According to co–owner Michael Kleinsasser, Reuben was a first cousin, and he gave him a job to help straighten him out.

But Reuben was something of an outsider at the shop, the only worker who didn't attend Buck Creek Mennonite Church north of Richland Center. Kleinsasser says Reuben had a temper, and his mood could swing back and forth.

In his signed confession to police, Reuben wrote he wasn't sure how many times he shot Robert Hege. He ends the statement by saying, "The Devil made me do it."

Kleinsasser wasn't at the facility at the time of the shooting. He says if he had been there, he's not sure if he would still be alive.

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