UPDATE: TBI releases identities of victims, gunman in Tennessee plant shooting


ATHENS, Tenn. — Three people are dead, including the shooter, after a man walked into a Tennessee factory Thursday afternoon and opened fire, police said.

The lone gunman, who was also an employee, entered the Thomas and Betts factory in Athens at about 4 p.m. and opened fire in the front office area, but didn’t hit anyone at first, according to WBIR.

The gunman, identified by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as 45-year-old Ricky Swafford, then entered the main part of the¬†facility where he continued shooting “deep inside the factory,” killing two other people, police said.

Officers found the suspect’s body inside a bathroom. It appeared that he shot and killed himself, according to Athens Police Chief Charles Ziegler. The gun he used appeared to be a small, pistol, Ziegler said.

The victims have been identified by the TBI as James Zotter, 44, and Sandra Cooley, 68. Both are from Athens, Tenn.

The scene was secured by 5:10 p.m.

Nearby McMinn County High School was placed on lockdown as a security measure but no threats were made toward the school.

Thomas and Betts manufactures connectors and components for the electrical and communications industries.