News / World

The Latest: Supervisor shot at factory was recently promoted

ATHENS, Tenn. — The Latest on a fatal shooting at Tennessee factory (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

One of the supervisors shot by an employee at an eastern Tennessee factory had only recently been promoted to that position.

Law enforcement officials say worker Ricky Swafford shot supervisors James Zotter and Sandra Cooley after becoming agitated in a meeting with them Thursday.

Amanda Zotter tells WBIR-TV (http://on.wbir.com/2cyDKL8 ) that her father had worked at the plant for 20 years and had been promoted to supervisor in the last week.

James Zotter is survived by his wife, five daughters, two step-children and four grandchildren.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says Ricky Swafford became agitated after a meeting with Zotter and Cooley on Thursday. He then left the plant and returned with a pistol to shoot the supervisors.

Swafford's body was later found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

__

11:30 a.m.

A man identified by law enforcement as having shot two colleagues at an eastern Tennessee factory had a state-issued permit to carry handguns in public.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Susan Niland confirmed Friday that Ricky Swafford, who was later found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, had an up-to-date carry permit and no previous criminal record.

Swafford was a 15-year employee at the Thomas & Betts plant in Athens.

Under a state law enacted in 2013, workers with carry permits are allowed to store firearms in vehicles parked at work regardless of their employers' wishes.

The Thomas & Betts plant where the shooting happened is located across the street from McMinn County High School. Manager Pat Joyce said the company has an employee policy concerning firearms, but he declined to elaborate.

___

8:30 a.m.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says a fatal shooting at an East Tennessee plant occurred while an employee was meeting with his supervisors.

TBI spokeswoman Susan Niland said the investigation indicates 45-year-old Ricky Swafford became upset while talking with two supervisors Thursday at the Thomas & Betts Corp. plant and left the building before returning a short time later with a gun and fatally shooting 44-year-old James Zotter and 68-year-old Sandra Cooley.

She said on Friday that Swafford was later found dead in a bathroom from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot would.

The shooting was reported about 4:15 p.m. Thursday at the plant in Athens.

Thomas & Betts' headquarters is in suburban Memphis. It designs and makes electrical components for industrial, commercial, lighting and utility markets.