TBI releases more information about Athens plant shooting


ATHENS, Tenn. (WDEF) – The TBI, local law enforcement and a company spokesperson released more information this morning on the workplace shooting in Athens.

Officials say 45 year old Ricky Swafford was called to a meeting with his two supervisors at the Thomas and Betts ABB plant on Thursday afternoon.

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He became agitated and left the meeting, retrieved a gun from his vehicle, and returned to the meeting room.

Investigators say he shot and killed both of the supervisors, 44 year old James Zotter and 68 year old Sandra Cooley.

Witnesses say he then walked through the plant, but did not fire any more shots and no one else was injured.

Police found Swafford’s body in a restroom, killed by a self inflicted gunshot.

Officials say Swafford did have a concealed weapons permit.

The company’s area operations manager, Pat Joyce, said “I’m heartbroken today. We as a company are heartbroken. Yesterday, we lost colleagues in a senseless act of violence. We have absolutely no understanding of what motivated the perpetrator. But you have our promise that we are cooperating with the law enforcement in every possible way.”

Several schools in Athens began the day with student prayers for the victims.

And local churches are holding a prayer vigil at the Courthouse at noon.

Investigators have cleared the scene at the plant this morning.

But it will remained closed by the company for awhile as the community mourns.

Workers will be paid during the plant closure.

Pray for Athens
oee Davis

You never expect that anything like this can happen your in own small town, but the enemy is no respecter of persons or places when he speaks confusion and anger into the minds of people that are hurting. We have a duty as people of God to stand in a place of prayer like we are fighting a battle against the enemy, because that’s exactly what we are doing. I’m lifting up those involved to the Father who heals. #prayforathens

from Sheriff Joe Guy
from Sheriff Joe Guy

Sheriff Joe Guy

Thoughts and prayers to those affected by todays tragic event. Also to responding agencies who, as always in McMinn Co, worked together with dedication and professionalism. Athens PD, THP, DA, McMinn Schools, McMinn Sheriff,, TBI,.Athens Fire, AMR EMS, E911. #thomasandbetts