Local News

Chapel Hill Teacher Recounts Terrifying Hostage Ordeal

Posted January 16, 2007 9:44 p.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2007 9:56 p.m. EST

On April 24, 2006, a male student took social studies teacher Lisa Kukla and another student hostage at East Chapel Hill High School. That day still haunts Kukla.

“I have flashbacks, I have nightmares,” Kukla said. “It's really a horrific, terrifying event that happened."

Kukla was awarded with the North Carolina Gun Prevention Citizens of the Year Award on Tuesday for her bravery and resourcefulness.

Kukla was in her classroom when, police say, William Foster came in armed with a shotgun, air pistol and a hunting knife. As Foster held the two captive and threatened to kill both, several thoughts raced through her mind.

"Am I going to die?” Kukla said she thought. “Am I ever going to see my baby again? Am I ever going to see my husband again?"

Kukla said that what she remembers most of all is the barrel of Foster's gun staring her in the face.

"I knew that I had to stay calm and that there was a possibility that we could get out of this situation,” Kukla said. "I was praying out loud in that classroom and hoping for a miracle, asking someone I didn't know to let me live.”

Kukla eventually talked Foster into firing the weapon out the window. She said she believes she and the student held hostage saved their own lives that day, as well as that of the accused gunman.