Liberty Rocks

World & US News Round-ups, Commentary & Research Information

~ SPECIAL REPORT: School Shooting West of Madison, Wisconsin

Posted by Admin on September 29, 2006

School Shooting in Cazenovia, Wisconsin:

I regret to inform my readers that Weston Schools Principal Mr. John Klang has passed away from injuries received in the shooting this morning. Mr. Klang gave his life attempting to disarm the gunman and protect his students and staff. A true hero, and on all accounts a very good man.

Prayers of strength and comfort to Mr. Klang’s family, the school students, staff, Law enforcement officers, and the whole community affected by this tragedy.

To add to the devastation facing this VERY small community, another student who attends the high school was killed when his vehicle, traveling at a high rate of speed, crashed into a tree about 3-4 miles from the school. He had passed an officer on patrol prior to the accident, but the officer was not in pursuit (trying to catch up, but with no lights or sirens). More information about the accident is in the press conference transcript below. The identity of the student has not been released pending notification of family. Also see the article below.

[Alot of information is included on the post page itself (if you are reading this on the blog main page). Please click the “read the rest” link below this note]

http://www.620wtmj.com/_content/news/story_4555.asp

Principal Dies After Shooting at High School In Western Wisconsin

CAZENOVIA, Wis. (AP) — A ninth-grader shot his principal three times in a rural school, just before classes were to start Friday, killing him. No one else was hurt.

The 15-year-old boy has been charged first-degree intentional homicide, the district attorney said.

A custodian wrested from the teen one of two weapons he carried into the building, the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department said. But the teen broke through, pulled out another gun and shot Weston Schools Principal John Klang in the hallway near the school’s main entrance, Sheriff Randy Stammen said.

Klang died Friday afternoon at University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, a hospital statement said. An autopsy was scheduled for Saturday. Klang was shot in the back of the head, the chest and the leg.

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

 

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has released the following statement in regards to the shooting at Weston Schools:
Governor’s Statement (.pdf file)

http://www.620wtmj.com/_content/news/story_4560.asp

Double Tragedy: Weston Student Killed in Car Crash Today

This day brings double tragedy in Cazenovia. Authorities say before a student walked into Weston High School, another student from the school was killed in a car crash.

The Sauk County Sheriff’s Department says a deputy saw a car traveling at a high rate of speed on Highway G. The deputy turned around and started to follow the car. The sheriff’s department says the driver took off at a high rate of speed.

By the time the deputy caught up to the car, it had crash along the west shoulder of Highway K. The sheriff’s department says a 16-year-old driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was seriously hurt.

The driver was taken by Med-Flight to University Hospital in Madison where he was pronounced dead. A passenger, who was wearing a seatbelt was treated and released from a local hospital.

More information:
Official News Release from the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department:
http://media2.620wtmj.com/breakingnews/IMAGE0002.PDF

 

TRANSCRIPT OF AFTERNOON PRESS CONFERENCE:
AUDIO AVAILABLE AT THIS PAGE AS WELL AS OTHER AUDIO REPORTS AND STATEMENTS:
News Radio 620 WTMJ (Look to the right of the article…)

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT:

My name is Sheriff Randy Stammen from the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department. To my far right is Chief Deputy Joe Prattner(SP?), District Attorney Patricia Barrett. On my left is Field Service captain Richard Meister, and to his left is school superintendent Terry Milford. Um, basically what we’re going to do is I’m going to have, a Captain Meister read a very brief statement, There is not a lot of information we can provide at this point in time Um, we’re really in the middle of the investigation, um, and there is a lot of information that hasn’t been relayed to us yet, so… Captain;

Field Service Captain Richard Meister:
At approximately 8 a.m. this morning a Weston High School Custodian, observed a 15-year-old student enter the high school carrying a shotgun. The custodian attempted to restrain the student, and take the shotgun away. After doing so, the student broke free, entering a main corridor in the building. Principal John Klang approached the student, who proceeded to display a handgun, and shot three times, hitting the principal all three times. The principal was taken to Reedsburg Area Medical Center for surgery. The principal has now been transferred to UW Hospital in Madison. (This man was audibly upset, and the Sheriff took back over at this point).

Sheriff Stammen:
The District Attorney and I will try to, and the Superintendent will try to answer any questions you might have…

Q: What is this like? It must be the biggest shock in the world to have something like this happen here.
A: Um, this is a bit unusual for us absolutely it’s a, it truly is a shock. It’s an extremely unfortunate situation. Um, not one that we haven’t anticipated and trained for. Um, but it’s truly, truly unfortunate. Um, our hopes and prayers go out to the principal, and we hope he recovers.

Q: Do you have any idea what condition any word whatsoever?
A; At this point, no.

Q: How was the shooter taken into custody?
A: The Shooter was disarmed, um, partially by the custodian and by other staff and students.

Q: Any idea on a motive.. at this point?
A: At this point, no.

Q: Was the principal believed to be the target or was somebody else…
A: We don’t know who the target was

Q: What can you tell us about the shooter?
A: He’s 15.

Q: Is he a current student?
A: He is a student at this school

Q: He is a student at this school, or he was?
A: That’s correct

Q: Any prior disciplinary problems?
A: I can’t answer that at this point.

Q: What grade is he?
A: Do you know what grade he is in (Sheriff asked another of the officials who then answered: Ninth, then sheriff repeated;) – Ninth, Ninth Grade

Q: Where is he currently?
A: In custody at the sheriff’s department

Q: Anybody else injured in the …
A: I am not aware of anyone else being injured, no.

Q: Was anyone else threatened?
A: I have no idea at this point, we are interviewing everybody that was in or near the area.

Q: How many students were near where the confrontation took place
A: Don’t have a clue

Q: What was the procedure of students today?
A: I didn’t hear

(Different voice from Sheriff’s now talking – sorry he didn’t identify himself – I believe it is Terry Milford)

Q: What was the procedure with the students today?
A: Um, the students from ah, Grades (some overtalk about mics) Student from ah, in the grades Pre-K through 8 were um, after the police arrived, and, and secured the building, they were sent home on school buses. The 9 through 12 Students were taken to the, what we call the high school gy.. or the elementary gym, and um, at that point we ah, had crisis counselors come from neighboring school districts, and then students who were able to go home and wished to were allowed to do that – those high school students. And others that wanted to stay and continue counseling, ah, were allowed to do that. Witnesses are/were of course still with the authorities.

Q: How many witnesses were there?
A: I’m not sure

Q: Where did the shooting take place?
A: I’m not sure of that either, exactly (Reporter says Sheriff?) it was, I would say that would be for the Sheriff

Sheriff Stammen: The Shooting occured in a hallway near the main entrance.

A: Near what?
Q: The main entrance.

(Back to the 2nd speaker – Terry Milford);
Q: Is this complex all Pre-K through the High School? Is it one building or are there multiple buildings?
A: There are two buildings, but it is connected by an atrium so we consider it to be one site.

Q: So he came in the main entrance where the high school entrance
A: That’s correct

Q: Were classe in session…
A: Well, I’d better leave those questions, please direct those questions to the Sheriff

Q: Were classes in session at the time
A: If it was at 8 o’clock, which the sheriff said, it would be before the classes started officially

Q: So the halls would be crowded as a routine?
A: That would be my thought (chorus of no’s at this point) No?

Several voices: Classes were in session

Q: What is the status of your homecoming activities and your football game?
A: The football game has been postponed, as has the dance tomorrow night, and, um, the parade today. All activities are cancelled or postponed for a future date. We will have school open on Monday, with crisis counselors here, for people, anyone who likes, who would like to come and make themselves accesible (assessable?) to that and we’ll be deciding on reopening as soon as we have a chance to um, talk that over a little further.

Q: So on Monday it’s just to come for
A: It’s just to come for counseling

Q: There’s been a lot of news lately about issues, incidents like this, first Green Bay two weeks ago, this week in Colorado – When something like this happens did the, was the school on higher alert? Just in case something like this happens?
A: Not to my knowledge, I’m working with John, as the, as a, I’m a consulting administrator to John.. And John has been our principal for two years, this is his third year, and this is my second year working with him as a superintendent, training him, so I’m not, I’m here approximately one day a week, and that of course happened in Colorado yesterday, and I’m not sure the date of the Green Bay one, but at this point I do not know of any specific things that were done as a result of those.

Q: Is there any reason to believe that maybe the shooter was motivated by seeing the images of the other one this week?
A: I have no idea, No.

Q: Is John the principal of just the high school or,
A: No, the Pre-K 12 Building

Q: The whole thing
A: Yes

Q: Sir, what can you say about John?
A: Well, I have plenty of things personally to say, but we did prepare a letter, ah, a note for that question, ah, this was compiled by the staff;

BEGIN LETTER:
John Klang is the principal at Weston, This will be a little difficult for me (Audibly shaken and fighting back tears). He’s always kind and compassionate. His soft-spoken words touched many students, staff and community members. He is very dedicated to the school, having served on the school board for over 20 years prior to becoming our athletic director, and eventually principal. And now, he is in the process of becoming the administrator for the school. He isn’t the kind of principal who sits behind a desk, to run the school. He is visible throughout the school and participates in many activities. He was injured because he was trying to maintain (pause for emotion) to maintain control and try to protect the students and staff at Weston, all of whom are grateful and safe as a result of his efforts. As his staff we are praying for his recovery (much emotion evident) and we hope that many people will join us. We are anxious… for his return… so we can thank him in person.

END OF LETTER

Sorry, that’s just a little bit hard for me, so… and I do have this… statement, if anyone is interested. (Tears now, unable to continue — My heart breaks for this man who is obviously worried over a dear, dear friend…)

Sheriff responds now:
Q: Sheriff, just a few follow-up questions do you know if you have the guns, and what kind were they?
A: There were two weapons involved, one was a hand gun and one was a shotgun.

Q: Do you know what kind of handgun?
A: Not off the top of my head, no. They were seized immediately upon the arrival of the first officers.

Q: Do you know anything, can you say anything about what the student’s plan was?
A: He is being interviewed at this point in time, and I don’t have that information. And, I don’t know if he’s talking to the investigators or not.

Q: Can the District Attorney address when the charges might be filed, or when we will get the name of the suspect?
District Attorney Patricia Barrett answering now:
A:At this point in time we are hoping to have the charges filed by tomorrow evening.

Q: What do you anticipate charging?
A: At this point in time, without information that is being taken by the officers I would be unable to speculate on what the charges might be.

Q: Is there any chance of getting his name from your office as he is a 15-year-old, ever?
A: Depending on what charges may be determined, Ah, this state,

Q: Will it be adult court? (interrupted with question)
Cont’d answer: it’s not a waiver under certain types of charges, it becomes original adult jurisdiction in which case his name immediately becomes public.

Q: That hasn’t been determined yet?
A: Not at this point in time

Q: (Barely audible, apparently asking to explain possible charges and original jurisdiction)
A: Original Adult Jurisdiction occurs based on the nature of the offense. Certain offenses after the age of 10 are adult jurisdiction. So, depending on what the determination is for these offenses, it may be original adult jurisdiction and that would be at the filing of the complaint.

Q: Has your office ever had any encounters with the suspect before?
A: I’m not at liberty to disclose that.

Q: We’re not, OK, we’re not asking his name, so I think we can ask that question…
A: I am not at liberty to disclose that

Q: Have the parents been interviewed?
A: At this point in time I’m not sure whether or not they actually have been contacted and interviewed.

Q: And can anyone speak to whether or not this student had been under and disciplinary action at the school, was he having, had he been suspended or expelled for any prior offense?
(Man Answers – I think the Sheriff Stammen – 90% sure – it is from audio so I have no visual cues to work with, just voice ID. )
A: I don’t, ah, I have no idea at this point. I have not been, I have not had that conversation with our lead investigators.

Q: Was he targetting anyone in particular?
A: At this point I don’t know that, I don’t have an answer

Q: You said that the janitor (attempted?) to disarm the suspect, did anyone else help with that, did John himself help?
A: The janitor disarmed him of the shotgun, and other were involved in the struggle with him after the shooting, yes.

Q: Can you expand on that? What are you talking about? How many people and how did they manage to get him under control?
A: I don’t know. We’re still trying to find and identify everyone that was involved.

Q: Was it just staff or were there students involved in taking him down?
A: At this moment I can’t answer that.

Q: How close was John when he was shot?
A: That’s a real good question, I don’t know.

Q: Does John have family? Does he have kids that go to the school district?
Terry Milford answers now:
A: John has three children who graduated from Weston. And his wife and family are I’m sure with him now.

Q: Where was John from, where does he live?
A: John lives a few miles outside Cazenovia on a (talking), excuse me?

Q: Inaudible question (about Mr. Klang’s age):
A: I’m going to say John is in his late 40s, I don’t know his exact age

Q: So, was John being trained to be the principal, or?
A: No, he has been the, John has been the principal. this is his third year as principal

Q: You said he’s in training…
A: And he’s working with me, we are reducing our administrative staff from two full-time people, to one I guess you would say. We have some other staff members that helped John in various ways, who also teach, but, John is effectively, and has been for the last year, So this would be his second year, ah, carrying out the duties of the superintendent, with my assistance, and guidance.

Q: With the idea that next year he would be the superintendent?
A: That is correct, and it’s been on a part-time basis.

Q: How many students go here?
A: Approximately 365

Q: It is a public school?
A: Public School

Q: How many (Lots of talking over)
A: Pre-K through 12

Q: How many in high school?
A: Ah, just to try for accuracy, (Female: I believe110) 110

Q: And that’s 9-12?
A: That’s 9-12

Q: How is the custodian, and where is he now?
A: I’m not aware of the, the authorities would be the person to ask that

Q: Does the school have a security guard?
A: No.

Q: What’s the name of the custodian?
A: Again, I’m not, I’m not allowed, ah, I’m not involved in that,

Q: Can you comment on the death of the other student that was driving to school this morning?
A: I, other than I’m aware of it I am not aware of the circumstances, or what happened there.

Q: Sheriff are you aware of the circumstances of the car crash, and can you speak of that at all?
Sheriff Stammen answering:

A: Prior to this incident occurring, an officer on patrol observed a vehicle approaching him at a high rate of speed, the violation was a speed violation, the vehicle passed by the officer, the officer turned around, did not activate the red lights or siren, and simply started trying to catch up to the offending vehicle, the vehicle crashed and I don’t know the circumstances surrounding the crash, the lone occupant of the vehicle, was seriously injured, he was Med-flighted to the UW-Madison hospital, by med-flight and on arrival, my understanding is that he was pronounced dead at the scene (I presume he means DOA).

Q: A lone occupant, or were there two occupants?
A: My understanding is a lone occupant
[NOTE: In a later article specifically about the car accident it was stated there was indeed a second occupant who was wearing a seatbelt, and was treated and released with minor injuries from the local medical center – Michelle K.]

Q: Is there any reason to believe that was connected to the shooting?
A: There is nothing to indicate that at all

Q: Has the other student been identified, or are we still awaiting that
A: The other student? The one involved in the accident? He has not been identified yet, pending notification of relatives.

Q: Any reason to believe today’s shooting was tied to Homecoming?
A: Again, there’s a lot of questions we have that related to this incident and, and what perpetrated it (means instigated?) at this point in time we don’t know that. Our, um, the Division of Criminal Investigation, and our detectives are interviewing everybody, and trying to determine those answers, um, when we get them we’ll let you know.

Q: You said DCI is involved in the investigation? (DCI, or the Division of Criminal Investigation, is part of the Wisconsin State Department of Justice)
A: That is correct. The Division of Criminal Investigation is assisting us with the literally hundreds of interviews that have to be done, the crime laboratory is here to process the scene, and requested the Wisconsin State Patrol to do a reconstruction of the scene, here and at the traffic accident that occurred.

Q: Is this the, are you the primary investigating agency
A: That is correct.

Q: To what extent is Richland County involved?
A: They’re here to help us.

Q: The school is inside that county, correct?
A: Correct.

Q: And is this school, is the municipality Cazenovia or what is the municipality?
A: Superintendent answering: The um, the village is Hillpoint, which is an unincorporated village, Lime Ridge, and Casonovia and surrounding areas make up the school district.

Q: The physical building, do you know which one of those communities it is in?
A: This is, it’s located in between Lime Ridge and Cazenovia.

Q: Were the students put on lock-down, or were they evacuated immediately, or what were the students doing in the midst of all of this?
A: At this point I have to go back to my status as a consultant, I was not working today, so I just arrived a few minutes before this press conference and Melissa Nigh is a staff member, who teaches and also is beginning to work with John as a Teacher slash Assistant Principal, so I’m going to let her answer that for you,

Melissa Nigh, Dean of Students Speaking:
A:
Immediately after this occurred the students were given the call to a, a code blue was issued and all students were put into lock-down. And rooms were locked, lights were turned off and all students were safe at that time.

Q: How long did that last?
A: Lockdown lasted approximately… oh a couple hours, until the building was secure.

Q: Was there ever an evacuation?
A: We evacuated the ele.., the lower building, where the elementary and middle school kids were at, I really don’t know what time, I would say, 9:30, somewhere in there. We did evacuate them out of the far end of the building and we held all high school students until investigators gave us the OK to let them go.

Q: This lockdown is something the school has practiced before?
A: Yes, we have.

Q: And all students were locked-down, not just the high school?
A: That’s correct, Pre-K 12

Q: So what about students who were in the cafeteria at the time?
A: They went into the kitchen and locked down as well.

Q: Could you spell your name please?
A: N-I-G-H is the last name, Melissa, M-E-L-I-S-S-A.

Q: And your title again, Melissa?
A: Dean of Students

Q: I’m hearing that there is a car crashed into a tree in the front lawn of the school right now, how does that play into this, or does it? (Laughing now among the reporters)
A: (Man: Ah, can you answer that?) Ah, that car was placed thre by our S.A.D.D. Students Against Destructive Decisions organization to remind students of the dangers of drinking and driving during homecoming week.

Q: This car accident that occurred, do we know what time that happened at? What road was it on?
A:
It was on West Terrace (later said as Haretz(sp?), see below) Road and, that was prior to 8 o’clock, I don’t know what time.

Q: Terrace did you say?
A: Haretz (SP?)

Q: How close is that to the school where the accident occurred?
A: I don’t have an exact mileage I haven’t been to that scene yet.

Q: Do you have an estimate?
A: Ah, 3 to 4 miles

END OF AUDIO TAPE

http://www.madison.com/bn/index.php?action=this&bn_id=0-100934

UPDATE: “I’m here to kill somebody”; Janitor describes struggle with armed teen – WSJ
CAZENOVIA – A 15-year-old student walked into a rural school with a gun and shot the principal three times Friday morning before he was taken into custody, authorities said. All the students were reported safe.

John Klang, principal at Weston Schools, was in critical condition and undergoing surgery at UW Hospitals in Madison on Friday afternoon, hospital spokespeople said.

The school’s homecoming activities for the weekend – a parade, dance and football game – were all canceled, and the student was being held at the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Randy Stammen said.

The student walked into school with a shotgun about 8 a.m., witnesses said. A custodian, some teachers and students wrestled with the student, but he broke through, took out a handgun and shot the 49-year-old Klang three times, Stammen said.

The events struck like a hammer at a school where trees were decorated with toilet paper and there were aborted plans for the exciting fall ritual of a football game, parade and Homecoming dance.

Janitor Dave Thompson said he had watched the student come out of his truck carrying a shotgun. As the student entered the school, Thompson said he confronted the student.

“I’m here to kill somebody,” the student told Thompson.

Thompson, 43, said he wrestled the shotgun away from the student after he pointed the barrel at social studies teacher, Chuck Keller. As the student fumbled inside his clothes, Thompson took the shotgun and ran to call 911.

“I said, ‘Chuck, I think he’s got a handgun,’ ” Thompson shouted.

Sophomore Shelly Rupp said she heard several shots and began to run out of the school, but she turned and saw Klang as he was shot.

“He was laying on the ground in the hallway,” the 16-year-old said at a nearby gas station, where students and townspeople gathered following the shooting. “He had just a pile of blood by his leg.”

Rupp described the shooter as a freshman with few friends.

Authorities captured the suspect and no students in the school were hurt, Stammen said. No motive was known and it was not clear if Klang was the intended target, he said.

“It truly is a shock. It’s an extremely unfortunate situation,” Stammen said. “Our hopes and prayers go out to the principal. We hope he recovers.”

Middle and elementary students were sent home, and high school students were taken to a nearby gymnasium where they met with crisis counselors from area schools and spoke with investigators.

Rupp said the shooter was “just weird in the head.”

“He always used to kid around about bringing things to school and hurting kids,” 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.

Weston School is about three miles south of Cazenovia, a community of about 300 people about 60 miles northwest of Madison. The school has 365 students in grades pre-Kindergarten through 12th, and Klang was principal for all the students.

Superintendent Terry Milfred said Klang was a well-respected, dedicated administrator, who was kind to students, staff and the community. Klang graduated from Weston in 1975 and all three of his children were graduates, he said.

“He was injured because he was trying to maintain control, protect students, staff and Weston, all of whom are grateful and safe as result of his efforts,” Milfred said. “As his staff, we are praying for his recovery and we hope that many people will join us. We’re anxious for his return so we can thank him in person.”

Klang’s father, Don Klang, who also lives near Cazenovia, declined comment Friday.

“Now is not the time to be talking,” he said.

Rupp said Klang was a good principal and always listened to his students. Resident Laurie Rhea, 42, said Klang spent last weekend at the gas station washing cars for a homecoming fundraiser.

“It’s horrible. All the kids just loved him,” she said.

Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett said she expected to file charges by Saturday night. She would not say what those charges might be or whether the student would be charged as an adult. She declined to comment on whether the suspect had a record of violence.

Go to http://www.madison.com/wsj/forums to give us your thoughts for tomorrow’s editorial on the school shooting.
For more coverage see tomorrow’s State Journal.

http://www.madison.com/bn/index.php?action=this&bn_id=1-100930

15-year-old accused of shooting principal three times WSJ
CAZENOVIA – A 15-year-old student walked into a rural school with a gun and shot the principal three times before classes started Friday, authorities said. The suspect was taken into custody and all students were reported safe.

Sauk County Sheriff Randy Stammen said a custodian saw the student enter Weston School with a shot gun. The custodian, along with other teachers and students, wrestled the student and took away the shotgun. But the student broke free and entered a main corridor, where he was approached by Principal John Klang, Stammen said.

The student then took out a handgun and shot Klang three times. No one else was injured, authorities said. The student was taken into custody and held at the county sheriff’s department, Stammen said.

Klang was in critical condition, a spokeswoman at an area hospital said. A spokeswoman for UW Hospitals in Madison said he was being taken there by helicopter.

Stammen said they did not know the student’s motive and did not know if Klang was the intended target.

Middle and elementary students were sent home while high school students were taken to a gymnasium, where they met with crisis counselors, superintendent Terry Milfred said.

“It truly is a shock. It’s an extremely unfortunate situation,” Stammen said. “Our hopes and prayers go out to the principal. We hope he recovers.”

Cazenovia is a community of about 300 people about 60 miles northwest of Madison. Weston School is about three miles south of town and has students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Melissa Nigh, the school’s dean of students, said the small, rural school has no metal detectors.

“I don’t think there was any way of predicting this,” Nigh said. “I really don’t.”

The shooting happened as the school was preparing for homecoming weekend. Nigh said all homecoming activities, including a parade, a football game and dance, have been canceled.

Junior Timmy Donovan saw the student walk into the school with a shotgun.

“The janitor grabbed it away from him,” Donovan said. “And as he was walking away he pulled a .22 pistol out of his pants, and then started shooting the principal. And at that point, I guess the principal ran and tackled him to the ground, and then he had other teachers going over and helping him.”

Sophomore Shelly Rupp said she heard a total of five shots and ran out of the school. She said she turned around and saw Klang as he was shot.

“He was laying on the ground in the hallway,” she said. “He had just a pile of blood by his leg.

The 16-year-old described the shooter as a freshman with few friends.

“He was a little weird,” Rupp said. “He always used to kid around about bringing things to school and hurting kids.”

After the shooting, she went to a nearby gas station, where other students and townspeople had gathered. Rupp described Klang as a good principal and who listened to students.

“He never raised his voice or anything to any of the students,” Rupp said.

Resident Laurie Rhea, 42, said Klang had spent last weekend at the gas station washing cars for a homecoming fundraiser.

“It’s horrible. All the kids just loved him,” she said.

Norma Hanko, 81, said Klang and his wife were very good friends of hers.

“I feel very terrible. I have been praying ever since I heard about it,” she said. “He is a very good person. First he went to teaching and then farmed for a long time and then he went back to teaching.”

She described Klang as a friendly man who liked to hunt and fish.

A gunman took six students hostage in a Colorado high school Wednesday and killed one before shooting himself.

Go to http://www.madison.com/wsj/forums to give us your thoughts for tomorrow’s editorial on the school shooting.

For more coverage see tomorrow’s State Journal.

AP-CS-09-29-06 1329EDT

http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/index.php?ntid=100926

Weston School principal shot, student in custody
By Bill Novak, Lee Sensenbrenner, David Callender and Anita Weier

CAZENOVIA, Wis. – Armed with a shotgun and a handgun, a 15-year-old student walked into his rural Sauk County school and shot his principal three times.

According to a news release from the Sauk County Sheriff’s Office, a janitor at Weston School saw the student with the shotgun and managed to wrestle it away from him. The student broke free, though, and when principal and administrator John Klang approached him, he pulled out a handgun and shot him three times.

He was listed in critical condition when he left Reedsburg Area Medical Center and was later taken via helicopter to University of Wisconsin Hospital. Officials there did not have a condition report on Klang at noon but said he was in surgery.

Capt. Michael Haifemann of the Sheriff’s Office said the student is in custody and on his way to the Sauk County Jail. His name has not been released.

As of press time, authorities were giving no indication what led to the shooting.

Elementary and middle school students were excused early today, and high school students were leaving the building at mid-morning. As rain poured down, they cried and hugged their parents as they arrived to take them home.

Most declined to talk to the news media, but parent David Hertler said “you can’t take anything for granted.”

Cazenovia is a community of about 300 people about 60 miles northwest of Madison. The Weston School District has 373 students, according to state data, and all of them attend school in the same large building on a hill just south of the village of Cazenovia on County S.

Melissa Nigh, the school’s dean of students, said some students remain at the school as part of the sheriff department’s investigation.

The small, rural school has no metal detectors, she said.

“I don’t think there was any way of predicting this,” Nigh said. “I really don’t.”

The shooting happened as the school was preparing for homecoming weekend. Nigh said all homecoming activities, including a parade, football game and dance, have been canceled.

Student Robert Cohoon said he heard three shots. He and his classmates hid under their desks and were scared they would get hurt, he said.

“I never thought this would ever, ever happen,” he said.

‘In his blood’: Klang’s father, Don, said in a telephone interview that his son always had a love for teaching but only recently returned to the field full time.

“It was always in his blood,” Don Klang said.

Klang, 50, earned his undergraduate degree in education from the UW-La Crosse, but then ran a 200-acre dairy farm for more than 16 years after he married his wife, Sue.

During that period, John worked on and off as a substitute teacher and served for several years as a member of a school board.

Klang returned to teaching full time about five years ago, in part because he found it increasingly difficult to pay for college for his three children just by farming, his father said.

“You can’t educate three children on 10-dollar milk,” Don Klang said, referring to the current commodity price for 100 pounds of milk.

He sold off the family’s cattle and put his land into soil conservation, then went back to school to update his teaching credentials.

Klang initially started as a teacher, but “worked his way up from the bottom” to become principal of the school about two years ago, his father said.

Klang began his career in education at St. Anthony Catholic School, another relative of his said.

The Klang family has deep roots in the Cazenovia area, with many of them living along Klang Drive and Klang Acres Lane.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Published: September 29, 2006

http://www.madison.com/bn/index.php?action=this&bn_id=0-100857

UPDATE: Weston School principal shot, student in custody TCT

CAZENOVIA, Wis. (AP) – A student walked into a rural school with a gun and shot the principal several times, authorities said. The suspect was taken into custody and all the children were reported safe.

Capt. Michael Haifemann told the Associated Press that John Klang, principal at Weston Schools, had been shot several times. He was taken by helicopter to UW Hospitals in Madison, spokeswoman Lisa Brunette said.

The school was still in lockdown Friday at midmorning, Haifemann said.

“All the children in the school were safe and none were harmed,” he said.

Cazenovia is a community of about 300 people about 60 miles northwest of Madison. Weston School is about three miles south of town and has students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Melissa Nigh, the school’s dean of students, said middle and elementary students were sent home, although some students remain at the school as part of the sheriff department’s investigation.

The small, rural school has no metal detectors, she said.

“I don’t think there was any way of predicting this,” Nigh said. “I really don’t.”

The shooting happened as the school was preparing for homecoming weekend. Nigh said all homecoming activities, including a parade, a football game and dance, have been canceled.

Student Robert Cohoon said he heard three shots. He and his classmates hid under their desks and were scared they would get hurt, he said.

“I never thought this would ever, ever happen,” he said.

http://www.channel3000.com/news/9963377/detail.html

Wis. School Shooting Leaves Principal Injured
UPDATED: 12:11 pm CDT September 29, 2006

CAZENOVIA, Wis. — A principal was apparently alert and talking at a hospital after he was shot Friday morning in an incident at a rural Wisconsin school, according to WISC-TV in Madison, Wis.

Police in Sauk County, Wis., said the shooting happened at the Weston School complex near Cazenovia, Wis., and that students were evacuated while the school was locked down. School district officials said that all students are safe and that none were injured in the incident, WISC-TV reported.

Police said a suspect was in custody but did not release any additional details.

Robin Landsinger, the town clerk in Cazenovia, told Milwaukee’s WISN-TV that her daughter Maggie is in seventh grade at the school. Landsinger said her daughter told her that the suspect is a freshman student who was held back from advancing to his sophomore year and had been in trouble at the school last week.

Maggie said the school ordered a “code blue” and that she hid under the desk, Landsinger said. She said her daughter told her the principal was shot but didn’t know where on his body.

Landsinger said the students were told that the principal was alert and talking in the hospital. According to WISC-TV, Reedsburg Medical Center confirmed that one person had been taken by helicopter to Madison.

Weston School has students ranging from elementary through high school. The victim is the principal for all grade levels, police said.

The school is located about two miles south of Cazenovia in Sauk County, Wis. The school’s homecoming game and activities, which were scheduled for Friday night, have been canceled, officials told WISC-TV.

http://www.channel3000.com/news/9963173/detail.html

District: Principal Hurt In Apparent Weston School Shooting
School Has Been Evacuated


UPDATED: 9:44 am CDT September 29, 2006

CAZENOVIA, Wis. — A principal was shot and schools are currently on lockdown after an apparent shooting in Weston, Wis., on Friday morning, according to Sauk County authorities.

Authorities said that the shooting occurred at a school complex and the students have been evacuated. School district officials said that all students are safe and weren’t injured in this incident, WISC-TV reported.

Reedsburg Medical Center has confirmed that that one person has been MedFlighted to Madison.

Weston schools are located about 2 miles south of Cazenovia in Sauk County.

http://nbc15.madison.com/home/headlines/4265931.html

(Video Coverage is available at the link above)

Principal Shot at Sauk County School
BREAKING NEWS: SAUK COUNTY SCHOOL SHOOTING

Updated: 9:47 AM Sep 29, 2006

Breaking news at this hour from the border of Sauk and Richland Counties. Police are investigating a school shooting.

The school district tells NBC 15 News the principal of the school has been shot. He has been flown by med flight to a hosptial for treatment. His condition is unknown.

According to an witness inside the school who talked with NBC 15, the shooting happened around 8 am at Weston School in Cazenovia. That witness tells us shots were fired inside the high school.

The Weston School is currently under lock down. School buses are being brought to the school for the removal of students from the building.

Ch. 27 – WKOW-TV – Madison, WI
http://www.wkowtv.com/index.php/news/story/p/pkid/24993

Sauk County Principal Shot

Fri 09/29/2006 – According to witnesses, a former student entered the Weston School near Lime Ridge this morning armed with multiple weapons. The district confirms that Principal John Klang was shot. They would not confirm his condition. A district spokesperson said the school was secure and students were safe. We have crews headed to the scene.

http://www.madison.com/bn/index.php?action=this&bn_id=1-100861

The Capital Times

Principal shot, critically injured at Weston High School WSJ

The principal-administrator of the Weston School District was reported shot this morning at the K-12 school in Cazenovia, the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department said.

A man tentatively identified as district administrator John Klang was “critically injured” in the shooting, said Bonnie Manning, administrative assistant with the sheriff’s department.

A suspect was taken into custody, Manning said, adding that she had no information about the assailant. No other injuries were reported.

Manning confirmed that the shooting took place at the school, however, she wasn’t certain of the time.

An operator at the Sauk County 911 center said officials were too busy to talk this morning.

The 373-student school is about 70 miles northwest of Madison on the line between Sauk and Richland counties.

Get the full story in tomorrow’s Wisconsin State Journal.

http://www.madison.com/bn/index.php?action=this&bn_id=0-100857
Madison.com

UPDATE: Former student shoots Sauk County principal TCT

CAZENOVIA, Wis. (AP) – The principal at Weston High School was shot Friday morning by a former student who entered the school armed with multiple weapons, WKOW-TV reported.

The district told WKOW that Principal John Klang was shot, but would not confirm his condition. The school is in lockdown, but a district spokeswoman says students are safe.

ORIGINAL POST – 9:44a.m. – 9/27/06

There is not a lot of information available at this time. The following is from WTMJ 620AM Radio:

BREAKING NEWS: School Shooting West of Madison

Newsradio 620 WTMJ has learned that the principal of a high school in Cazenovia, WI has been shot at the school. The Weston Schools in Cazenovia are on lockdown right now. Stay with Newsradio 620 WTMJ for the latest.

I will update this post as more information becomes available.

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE…
Much thanks to Freeper “MyGirlsMom” who initially alerted everyone to this situation on the Wisconsin Locale Board. I in turn posted the information on a thread at FreeRepublic.com and here at my blog.

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3 Responses to “~ SPECIAL REPORT: School Shooting West of Madison, Wisconsin”

  1. […] On my personal blog, Liberty Rocks,  I have compiled a lot of information including links, articles, and a transcription of this afternoon’s press conference.  If you are interested in reading more about this horrific day in this small, rural community you can access my post here: SPECIAL REPORT: Shool Shooting West of Madison, Wisconsin […]

  2. Fred said

    And what about Eric Hainstock? Your website is completely biased. “The gunman”…he is not a man he’s a child! Your community failed him utterly and you should all be ashamed of yourselves. Eric is sitting in a prison right now with adult males…he’s 16 years old, 16! What is wrong with you people? As if putting him in prison is going to bring back John Klang, the man Eric went to see about his bullying problems 20-30 times! Why were no students brought to justice? Or teachers and other faculty?

  3. Fred said

    Or his parents!!!???

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