Principal dies after campus shooting

15-year-old charged as adult; teasing said to have led to attack

CAZENOVIA, WIS. — A teenager who pried open his family's gun cabinet brought two weapons to his rural school Friday and shot the principal to death after a struggle with adults and other students, authorities said.

The 15-year-old was taken into custody and charged as an adult with murder, the district attorney said. No one else was hurt.

Authorities said the teen had complained about being teased by other students and decided to confront teachers and the principal using a shotgun and handgun taken from his parents' bedroom. The shooting also came one day after the principal gave him a disciplinary warning for having tobacco on school grounds, according to a criminal complaint.

Witnesses said the student walked in with the shotgun before classes began. A custodian, teachers and students wrestled with him, but he broke through, took out the handgun and shot Principal John Klang three times, Sheriff Randy Stammen said.

A custodian said the teen was a special-education student who told him he was there to kill someone, but did not say who.

"He was calm, but he was on a mission," said Dave Thompson, 43, who also has two children at Weston High School.

Sophomore Shelly Rupp, 16, described the boy as a freshman with few friends and said he was "just weird in the head."

"He always used to kid around about bringing things to school and hurting kids," she said at a gas station nearby where students and townspeople gathered.

Thompson said the student first pointed a shotgun in a teacher's face. Thompson grabbed away the gun, but the student then appeared to be reaching for another gun, so Thompson and the teacher took cover. Thompson ran into a kitchen to call 911.

Klang then confronted the gunman. After the shots were fired, the principal, who was wounded, somehow wrestled him to the ground and swept the gun away, the complaint said.

Klang, 49, was shot in the head, chest and leg, authorities said. He died hours later at a hospital in Madison.

Stammen praised Klang's swift action. "The heroics of the people involved in this can't be understated," the sheriff said.

The teen, identified as Eric Hainstock, said a group of kids had teased him by calling him names and rubbing up against him, the complaint said, and the teen felt teachers and the principal would not stop it.

So Hainstock decided to confront students, teachers and the principal with the guns, according to the complaint.

The complaint also said Hainstock had told a friend a few days earlier that Klang would not "make it through homecoming."

Hainstock could get life in prison if convicted, District Attorney Patricia Barrett said. Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.