Dan Fleischhacker's nickname was "Shocker."
That's how Brainerd High School classmates, teammates and coaches are viewing the 18-year-old senior's tragic death in a shooting accident early Saturday at his home.
Fleischhacker wrestled in the last two state tournaments, including just one month ago. He qualified for the Class 3A event at 112 pounds after finishing second in the last two section tournaments.
The close-knit Warrior wrestling community, including members of Fleischhacker's family, wrestlers, their parents and coaches, gathered Sunday night in the high school wrestling room to reflect on Fleischhacker's life and pay tribute to him. The delegation then went to dinner at the Chaparral.
"We had an incredible turnout in the wrestling room," Warriors head wrestling coach Bob Brakke said. "I couldn't believe it."
Brakke said Fleischhacker was a spirited individual who brought energy to the wrestling room.
"Dan was a kid who brought a different type of mentality, a different type of leadership to the room," Brakke said. "Whenever someone was down he was there to help pick them up. He wasn't the normal mold of kid in our room, that's for sure. I always felt like Dan was on some energy drink or something."
Greg Strand was a captain of the 2003-04 Warriors along with Fleischhacker.
"He was a great kid," Strand said. "He always was able to make you laugh. Whatever you were feeling he put a smile on your face. He was a hard worker. I will miss him a lot."
Strand said the team gathered Sunday night "as a big wrestling family."
"We all shared memories about 'Shock,'" Strand said. "It was pretty emotional."
Warriors assistant wrestling coach Mike Boran said Fleischhacker was a popular member of the team who will be missed.
"As a senior going out you kind of want to celebrate, and we did get a chance to do that at the banquet last Tuesday, then this happened," Boran said. "It's tough for the team, tough for the school. It's still kind of a shock."
Boran said he was fortunate to have worked with Fleischhacker for many years. Boran was the junior high coach when Fleischhacker came out for wrestling as an eighth-grader.
"It was a pleasure to have been part of his life and to have known him," Boran said. "I got to know him well.
"He was naturally talented. He loved wrestling, he just loved it. I know after wrestling he was a little worried about what he was going to do because it was such a big part of his life. Wrestling was something he could focus on."
BHS principal Steve Razidlo said a crisis team, consisting of counselors, administrators and teachers, met before school Monday morning to discuss the situation and to provide support for students. Razidlo said a message was read to students in their first-hour classes.
"Kids desire to know what's happening," Razidlo said. "They don't want you to buffalo them. They want to know the facts as we know them.
"The concern is that we're trying to work with our students, tell them the facts, inform them as much as we can, and provide support. We had counselors on extra alert this morning. We did meet with a few students, who are most affected, early."
Razidlo said faith community members also have helped and provided support.
Funeral services for Fleischhacker will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mathias Catholic Church.
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