Shooting at Thomas and Betts factory in Tennessee leaves three dead

Sept. 23, 2016
The shooter was an employee, who killed two supervisors them himself at Thomas and Betts’s manufacturing plant in Athens, TN.

Tragedy struck a Thomas and Betts manufacturing plant in Athens, TN when a plant employee shot and killed two other employees, then himself on Thursday, September 22.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) issued a statement on Friday, September 23 stating, “On Thursday, at the request of the 10th District Attorney General Steve Crump, TBI special agents joined officers with the Athens Police Department, along with the McMinn County Sheriff’s Department and the district attorney’s office, in investigating the circumstances that led to the shooting at the Thomas and Betts plant Thursday afternoon.

“The preliminary investigation indicates that Ricky Swafford, a long-time employee of the plant, became upset during a meeting with his two supervisors. Swafford, 45, abruptly left the meeting, and the building. He returned shortly afterward and went to the office and found his supervisors, James Zotter, 44, and Sandra Cooley, 68. Swafford shot both of them and continued to walk through the plant. Some employees were able to warn others of an active shooter, and employees evacuated the building. When responding officers arrived, they found Swafford’s body in a bathroom of the plant, deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. No other employees were injured in the shooting incident.”

On Thursday evening, Thomas and Betts issued the following statement: “It is with heavy hearts we must confirm that earlier today, there was a shooting in our Athens, Tennessee plant, and three of our colleagues lost their lives … Both ABB [Thomas and Betts’s parent company] global and local security teams are working with authorities to cooperate and assist in the investigation. Our leadership from ABB and Thomas and Betts are currently on their way to Athens, and counselors and support staff will be available to all employees. We thank all the members of law enforcement and first responders for your service. We ask that you join us in keeping all of our employees, our colleagues in Athens, the families of the victims, and the community of Athens in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Thomas and Betts later issued this statement: “We are profoundly saddened by the loss of lives in the September 22 shooting at our Thomas and Betts facility in Athens, Tennessee. The authorities are conducting an investigation, and, at this point, we are deferring questions to them. We are cooperating closely with the authorities. Our prayers and thoughts are with the victims’ families and our employees during this difficult time. We are providing all the support we can, including making grief counselors available to all of the facility’s employees.”

WRCB, Chattanooga’s NBC affiliate, reported, “The plant will be closed for a period of time, and employees will be paid during that time, according to the plant manager.”

You can read and watch WRCB’s reporting here.

Sponsored Recommendations

Cat 6A Frequently Asked Questions

April 29, 2024
At CommScope we know about network change and the importance of getting it right. Conclusion Category 6A cabling and connectivity.

Revolutionize Your Network with Propel Fiber Modules

Oct. 24, 2023
Four sizes of interchangeable Propel fiber modules provide the breadth of capabilities for virtually any configuration.

Elevate Your Network with Propel High-Density Panels

Oct. 24, 2023
Propel Series Sliding Fiber Optic Panels

Constellation™ - Explore power and data products

Oct. 24, 2023
Discover the Essentials for Building Your Power and Data System!