Search warrants: Athens shooter’s gun jammed while trying to shoot plant manager

ATHENS, Tenn. (WATE) – Search warrants for the Athens gunman’s car and house show he intended to shoot a third person.

A preliminary investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation indicates that Ricky Swafford, a long-time employee of Thomas and Betts, 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.

Thomas and Betts’ plant manager said he came around the corner of a hallway and and saw Swafford standing several feet away with a gun. The manager told officers that Swafford pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger. When the gun jammed, the manager was able to barricade himself in his office and call 9-1-1.

In Swafford’s car, officer said they found a gun belt, gun magazine containing eight .45 caliber rounds, a cell phone and two boxes containing .45 caliber rounds. Officers said they also did a search of Swafford’s house, but didn’t seize anything from the property.


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