Principal confronted shooting suspect
Teen complained about being teased
By Todd Richmond
CAZENOVIA, Wis. — A teenager who decided to confront teachers and the principal after complaining that other students teased him brought two guns to school and shot the principal to death, authorities said.
The shooting Friday also came a day after the principal gave15-year-old Eric Hainstock a disciplinary warning for having tobacco, according to a criminal complaint.
Hainstock was taken into custody and charged as an adult with murder, the district attorney said. He could get life in prison if convicted.
Detectives executed a search warrant at Hainstock’s house late Friday, the sheriff said. The teen was scheduled to make an initial court appearance Monday. It was unclear whether he had an attorney.
On Friday morning, Hainstock pried open his family’s gun cabinet, took out a shotgun, retrieved the key to his parents’ locked bedroom and took a .22-caliber revolver, according to a criminal complaint.
He entered Weston Schools with the shotgun before classes began and pointed the gun at a social studies teacher, but custodian Dave Thompson wrested it from the teen, the complaint said. When Hainstock reached for the handgun, Thompson and the teacher ran for cover.
Then Principal John Klang went into the hallway and confronted Hainstock. A teacher said that after the shots were fired, Klang, already wounded, managed to wrestle the shooter to the ground and sweep away the gun, the complaint said. Students and staff detained Hainstock until police arrived, District Attorney Patricia Barrett said.
No one else was injured. Klang, 49, was shot in the head, chest and leg, authorities said. He died hours later at a hospital in Madison. An autopsy was scheduled for today.
Sheriff Randy Stammen praised Klang’s swift action. "The heroics of the people involved in this can’t be understated," he said.
School officials said Klang had given Hainstock a disciplinary notice Thursday for bringing tobacco to school, and the student faced a likely in-school suspension, the complaint said.
Hainstock told investigators a group of kids had called him names and rubbed up against him, and he felt teachers and the principal would not do anything about it, according to the complaint.
It also said Hainstock had told a friend a few days earlier that Klang would not "make it through homecoming," referring to festivities planned for the school’s homecoming weekend.
After the shooting, Weston’s football game, dance and parade were canceled or postponed, and crisis counselors were brought in for students.
Children from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade attend the small school near Cazenovia, a community of about 300 people about 70 miles northwest of Madison.
Sophomore Shelly Rupp, 16, said she woke up ready to celebrate homecoming. Instead, she ended up catching a glimpse of her principal lying in the hallway in "a pile of blood."
"He was really nice," she said, choking back tears. "If we had a problem he’d listen to us. He never raised his voice or anything to any of the students."
Klang and his three children graduated from Weston Schools. Klang taught, then farmed for about 18 years before returning to teaching and taking over as principal in 2004, said his father, Don Klang. He was being groomed to become superintendent next year.
Resident Laurie Rhea, 42, said Klang spent last weekend at a gas station washing cars for a homecoming fundraiser.
"It’s horrible. All the kids just loved him," she said.
The shooting took place two days after a gunman took six students hostage in a Colorado high school and killed one before shooting himself.