Wisconsin Teen Who Shot Principal: "I Freaked Out"
We've faced a week of reflection, dealing with the results of high-profile murder-suicides; what do we do with the shooters who survive?
A teenager accused of gunning down his principal told detectives in a videotaped interview that he didn't mean to kill him but "freaked out" when the principal tackled him in a school hallway.
Eric Hainstock, 16, also told investigators in the same interview hours after Principal John Klang was fatally shot that he'd been in anger management classes for years but found them useless.
"He's like, 'Your choices are based on your beliefs,'" Hainstock said, referring to his instructor. "Like, 'duh.' It gets annoying."
Prosecutors presented the videotaped interrogation of Hainstock at a hearing on his request to be tried as a juvenile. He could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on adult charges. If convicted as a juvenile, Hainstock would be released at age 25.
Authorities say Hainstock, then 15, walked into the school before classes and shot Klang three times as the principal tried to wrestle the boy to the ground. Klang managed to disarm Hainstock but died later that day.
The videotape, time-stamped less than three hours after the shooting, shows Hainstock sitting in an interview room with his face buried in his arms. He has the hood on his sweatshirt pulled over his head.
Hainstock told detectives he was upset with school officials because they didn't stop other students in this southwestern Wisconsin town from picking on him and calling him names. Going to school with guns occurred to him just that morning, he said, and he just wanted officials to listen to him.
When Klang grabbed him from behind and put him in a bear hug, he put the revolver under his left armpit and shot the principal, he said. He said he didn't mean to kill him, but "I just freaked out."
"It was just 'pop!' and then a couple seconds later 'pop!' and then a couple seconds later, 'pop!'" Hainstock said.