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Tennessee factory worker kills his 2 supervisors, self

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A factory worker in the US state of Tennessee fatally shot his two supervisors and then committed suicide, law enforcement officials said.

The shootings occurred Thursday afternoon at the Thomas & Betts steel fabrication factory in Athens, located in eastern Tennessee.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation identified the gunman as Ricky Swafford, 45, and the supervisors as James A. Zotter, 44, and Sandra H. Cooley, 68.

Swafford, a long-time employee of the plant, became upset during a meeting with Zotter and Cooley, a preliminary investigation indicates.

Swafford left the factory after the meeting, and returned soon thereafter to the office where he met with his supervisors, Athens Police Chief Chuck Ziegler said.

He then shot and killed both of them, Ziegler said.

Swafford’s body was found in a bathroom in the factory by police officers, with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Athens Police Chief Chuck Ziegler said.

“Our loss is profound,” Thomas & Betts said in a news statement. “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.”

McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy called Thursday’s shooting the city’s first case of mass violence in recent memory.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), firearms are the cause of death for more than 33,000 people in the United States every year, a number that includes accidental discharge, murder and suicides, which are on the increase.

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