Posted: Feb 25, 2013 12:59 PM by Jamie Leary
Updated: Feb 25, 2013 1:00 PM
BOZEMAN - On Dec. 4, 1986, Kristofor Hans shot and killed substitute teacher Henrietta Smith in Lewistown.
Hans is serving two 100-year sentences and is currently a resident at the work and re-entry center at Montana State Prison.
Now, more than 26 years later, Hans is able to reflect on the horrible incident with some perspective.
"I took a gun into my school and, you know, I ended up shooting and killing a teacher and, in the process, wounding a vice principal and caused a lot of damage that day, a lot of damage," Hans said.
"I think the first time I kinda realized it really did happen was when I heard a lot of sirens, you know. And, you know, that started to bring it home a little bit. But I was very much in a state that was numb," he continued.
He now knows that many factors contributed to that moment.
"I had read a book called 'The Rage' by Stephen King and I thought the same thing would happen to me that happened to the character in the book, which was that he gained respect from his peers," Hans said.
Mike Smith is the husband of the teacher killed by Hans. While he did not want to be on camera, Smith said that he forgives Hans.
"It's an unfortunate thing that had to happen, but the big issue is what can we learn from it," Smith said.
The Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy is causing many communities to focus on school security, but Hans believes the answer is a proactive approach.
"I just wish there was a way to stop me, but the only way to have stopped me would've been something earlier, something in the prevention phase. I could no longer rely on the positive role models in my life. They had all abdicated or failed me at that point. So, I was taking all my cues from negative role models. And all the negative role models seemed to say violence is the answer," he said.