Two supervisors were fatally shot Sept. 22 by an employee who then took his own life at a Thomas & Betts plant in Athens, Tenn., that injection molds products for the wire and cable industry.
The shooter, Rick Swafford, 45, became upset during a meeting with the supervisors, police said. They identified the victims as James Zotter, 44, and Sandra Cooley, 68, both of Athens.
The gunman reportedly left the meeting abruptly about 4:10 p.m., left the building, and returned with a semi-automatic pistol.
After hearing the gunshots, some employees reportedly sheltered in place and other fled the Athens building.
“I'm heartbroken, the whole company is heartbroken,” Operations Manager Pat Joyce told WRCBtv.com. “The facility will remain closed until such time we decide to reopen. Every employee will be paid during this time of grief.”
Thomas & Betts is a subsidiary of Zurich, Switzerland-based ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd., a global company that makes products used to connect and transmit electricity. ABB released the following statement:
“Our loss is profound. The ABB family is shocked and saddened by the tragedy at our Thomas & Betts facility in Athens, Tenn., on Thursday afternoon. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims' families during this difficult time. We will have grief counselors available to all of our employees at the facility. ABB is working closely with the authorities to cooperate and assist on their investigation.”
Swafford had a concealed carry permit, police said.
ABB's North American operation is based in Cary, N.C., and employs 30,000 at multiple manufacturing and service facilities.