Liberty Rocks

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

~ School Shooting at Weston HS – Cazenovia, WI – September 29, 2006

Focus Page @ The Liberty Rocks Blog:


On Friday, September 29, 2006 at approximately 15-year-old Erik Hainstock drove to Weston Schools in Cazenovia, Wisconsin armed with a shotgun and a .22-caliber revolver that he allegedly took from his home. (according to reports he used a screwdriver to get the shotgun out of his father’s gun cabinet, and found a spare key to unlock his parent’s bedroom to retrieve the .22 caliber revolver).

Mr. Dave Thompson observed Hainstock entering the building and then holding the shotgun at the face of a teacher who questioned what he was doing. Hainstock allegedly replied ‘I’m going to kill someone’.

At that point, Mr. Thompson yanked the shotgun out of the boy’s hands. Hainstock then broke free. Thompson noticed that Hainstock was going for something in his pocket and he told the teacher to run, yelling that he thought he had another gun. That teacher ran for the office to call the “code blue” to lock down the school, and Thompson ran out the door to call 9-11. It was then that Principal John Klang confronted Hainstock.

Mr. Klang (pictured to the left) rushed to try and disarm him. In the ensuing struggle Klang was shot three times, once in the left leg, once in the mid-torso, and once in the head. Despite being mortally wounded he managed to continue struggling and eventually disarmed Hainstock, and then kicked the gun out of reach. Another teacher who had looked out his classroom door window, and according to some accounts several students, rushed into the hallway and were then able to wrestle Hainstock to the ground subduing and restraining him until he was taken into custody by law enforcement authorities who arrived on the scene within minutes.

Mr. Klang was first taken to the Richland Center Medical Center for emergency surgery. He was then transported by Med-flight to the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. Tragically, Mr. John Klang passed away Friday afternoon due to bleeding in his abdomen. John is mourned by a loving wife, 3 children, and numerous friends, colleagues, students and indeed an entire community.

The actions of Custodian Dave Thompson, and Principal John Klang saved the lives of many students and other staff members that day.

Principal John Klang paid the ultimate price for his devotion to the safety of his students and staff, and for that he will be remembered righteously as a hero, and a very good man.

15-year-old Erik Hainstock (pictured to the right), has been charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide. He is being charged as an adult and is facing a sentence of life in prison if convicted (Wisconsin does not have a death penalty law). Hainstock allegedly told investigators that he killed Mr. Klang due to a reprimand he received earlier in the week — Hainstock had been suspended for 3 days prior to this incident for being caught with tobacco on school grounds (according to one news report). Hainstock had reportedly made comments to another classmate allegedly saying that Mr. Klang would not make it through Homecoming weekend which was supposed to have been that weekend. Also allegedly contributing to these actions are claims by Hainstock that he was bullied and teased by classmates who allegedly called him “gay” and a “fag”.

Rebutting these claims is at least one teacher who said that Hainstock had bullied students within the school. A short time before the incident on Friday (within a few days) a teacher related that he had tried to reprimand Hainstock and that the child became angry, scaring the teacher badly enough that they ran out of the room. Hainstock allegedly threw an open stapler at the teacher that cracked the cement on the wall outside the classroom when it stuck it. Hainstock was taken into custody on that day only to be released by police to the custody of his father. It is not clear from newspaper and other media reports if this incident is what led to the suspension, or if this incident was afterwards. (I will do some more reading and research and update the information about Erik Hainstock and his history when information becomes clearer.)


  • Prayers Offered in Remembrance & Memorial Service Information
  • Press Conference Transcript
  • Media Articles
  • Video Coverage
  • Audio Reports
  • Still Pictures & Slideshows
  • Related Columns & Opinion Pieces
  • Other Related Coverage
  • Message Boards at Local Media Websites
  • Downloadable Documents (Criminal Complaint, Governor’s Statement)
  • Information about the Fatal Car Crash that took the life of Weston HS student Erik Fichtel shortly before the shooting of principal Klang (Media Articles & Sheriff’s Department Press Release for download.)


Prayers for comfort and strength for the Klang family, and all the friends of Mr. John Klang.

John Klang will forever be remembered by all who hear of his story as a brave hero, who gave his life in defense of others. I did not know Mr. Klang, but his friends and colleagues obviously had a lot of love, and respect for him as evident in their praise, not only of his heroic actions that day, but in the way he lived his life. If we can take anything away from this tragedy perhaps it is to aspire to be the same kind of person Mr. Klang was — to give of ourselves to others in need.

Visitation for Principal John Klang will be held on Tuesday, October 3, 2006 at the Farber Funeral home in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. A funeral service will be held for John on Wednesday, October 4, 2006 at 11 a.m. in the Weston High School Gymnasium.

Prayers of comfort and strength are also being said for the family and friends, of Erik Fichtel, a 16-year-old Weston Schools Student who was killed in a car accident on Friday September 29th just minutes before the tragic school shooting. The funeral for Erik Fichtel will be held on Tuesday, October 3, 2006 at 11 a.m. at the Lime Ridge Catholic Church, in Lime Ridge, Wisconsin.

The whole community of Cazenovia and the surrounding rural communities are also being kept in my prayers as the impact from this double tragedy has got to be especially devastating to this extremely small area.
[For more information about Erik Fichtel, and the fatal car crash please scroll down to the information at the very bottom of this Focus Page.]

I would also like to take a moment to say prayers for the family and friends of Erik Hainstock. In this lifetime there are often things that happen that we wish we could change. I am sure Erik Hainstock’s parents are hurting as well. We, from the outside, cannot know the challenges they faced in raising their child. From the few articles I have read that mention his parents it would seem that there was a failure somewhere, but we should not automatically assume it was their failure. There is record of them notifying people that they could not provide the proper resources to get Erik the help he obviously desperately needed. There will obviously be a time to examine these things, but if we are to truly understand how to prevent this in the future we should have some compassion for those who without it may not feel able to be honest about the situations they faced. It is in the spirit of hoping they will come forward and at least share with authorities or counselors exactly what they faced and actions they took in dealing with Erik throughout his childhood that I wish them comfort and compassion. A young man is facing life in prison due to his actions and a hero has lost his life — there is no need to make more victims by demonizing the Hainstock family as I have seen done in some places on the internet.

Afternoon Press Conference – 9/29/06


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;

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.


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:
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?
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




OCTOBER 2, 2006:

The Wisconsin State Journal:

OCTOBER 1, 2006:

620 AM WTMJ Talk Radio:

Ch. 3 WISC-TV:

The Wisconsin State Journal:

SEPTEMBER 30, 2006:

620 AM WTMJ Talk Radio:

Ch. 3 WISC-TV :

The Capital Times:

The Wisconsin State Journal:

SEPTEMBER 29, 2006:

Ch. 3 WISC-TV :

The Capital Times:



  • WTMJ 620AM Has a wide selection of audio downloads available at this page.
    Following is a list of what is available;
    1.) Download Audio: Authorities in Sauk County Announce Principal Klang has Died and Discuss Charges Against the Accused 15-year-old Gunman
    2.) Download Audio: Officials in Cazenovia discuss the day’s events (This is the audio for the transcript above).
    3.) Download Audio: Witness talks to Newsradio 620 WTMJ’s Dan O’Donnell about the shooting
    4.) Download Audio: Newsradio 620 WTMJ’s Dan O’Donnell Reports


  • WESTON SCHOOL SHOOTING IMAGES” – Ch. 3 WISC-TV (CBS – – Morgan Murphy Stations – Madison, Wisconsin, US – 30 September 2006


(Most message boards require sign-up to participate)

Please contact me at; Liberty Rocks Blog at gmail dot com (no spaces), if you have any trouble downloading these documents. Quicksharing is a free service and the documents are expunged from their system if not accessed within a certain number of days.


Cross Graphic is from

One Response to “~ School Shooting at Weston HS – Cazenovia, WI – September 29, 2006”

  1. […] ~ School Shooting at Weston HS – Cazenovia, WI – September 29, 2006 […]

%d bloggers like this: