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Hundreds Mourn Slain Wis. Principal

Hundreds of people packed the hot, sticky gymnasium Wednesday to say farewell to the principal shot outside his office last week as he tried to protect his school from a student gunman.
( [email protected] ) Oct 05, 2006 10:51 AM EDT

CAZENOVIA, Wis. (AP) - Hundreds of people packed the hot, sticky gymnasium Wednesday to say farewell to the principal shot outside his office last week as he tried to protect his school from a student gunman.

Fifteen-year-old freshman Eric Hainstock walked into school before classes started Friday with a shotgun and a revolver and shot Principal John Klang three times, according to a criminal complaint. Klang, mortally wounded, still managed to tackle Hainstock and disarm him, the complaint said.

The shooting devastated this tightly knit farming community of 300 people about 70 miles northwest of Madison.

Officials set up an altar and pulpit Wednesday under one of the basketball hoops in the school's gymnasium. A crowd that included Gov. Jim Doyle, his wife, Jessica, and state Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, filled the bleachers and folding chairs placed in the middle of the gym. More than 30 people had no place to sit and stood along the walls under Weston's conference championship banners.

Some people dressed in black, while others came in Weston letter jackets and sweat shirts. Football players wore their jerseys.

"We are here today because of John," the Rev. Andre Panek told the crowd. "Today, many tears in eyes. Today is the day even heaven is sad."

As mourners fanned themselves with funeral programs, the Rev. Lorin Bowens read a gospel passage about a good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.

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