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Police chief: 3 people found dead at plant in Athens, Tenn.

ATHENS, Tenn.  A shooting at the Thomas & Betts manufacturing plant in Athens, Tennessee, left three people dead, according to McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy, CBS affiliate WVLT reported

Guy reported that the shooter is down and the scene is secure.

The 911 center received a call of a shooting around 4:16 p.m. When officers arrived on scene, workers were streaming out of the plant.

Officers did a search of the building and found three deceased individuals, including the shooter, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, WVLT reported. The shooter was identified as a male employee. Authorities said his body was found in the bathroom.

Witnesses described “some attempted shooting in the front office and actual shooting deep inside the factory on the north side and the middle,” Athens Police Chief Charles Ziegler said..

The names of the dead were not released.

“We cannot confirm any information on any of the victims,” Ziegler said. “We have not even gotten the investigators in there.”

Athens police said that as of right now, the motive is still unclear.

The police chief said the shooter was apparently using a semi-automatic pistol, but he didn’t know the caliber or brand.

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded, including McMinn County Sheriff’s Office, Athens Police Department, and Tennessee Highway Patrol. 

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

Parent company ABB said in a statement Thursday night that the “loss is profound.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families during this difficult time,” the statement said. “We will have grief counselors available to all of our employees at the facility. ABB is working closely with authorities to cooperate and assist in their investigation.”

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