Tenn. man shoots and kills two people, then himself, in factory attack
'Man in camouflage pants holding a gun' (Shutterstock)

A gunman opened fire at a manufacturing plant in eastern Tennessee on Thursday, killing two people before taking his own life, police and local media reported.

The gunfire erupted shortly after 4 p.m. CDT at Thomas & Betts Corp [TBCI.UL] in Athens, Tennessee, local TV station WTVC reported.

"An active shooter incident has occurred at Thomas and Betts in Athens. Shooter is down. Scene is secure," McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy said in a post on Instagram.

WTVC reporter Kelsey Bagwell, citing Athens Police Chief Chuck Ziegler, said on Twitter that the gunman shot to death two people at the plant, then turned the gun on himself.

Ziegler said that the gunman's body was found in a bathroom of the plant with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Knoxville News-Sentinel newspaper reported.

"Everyone's in shock," Zeigler told the paper. "I had several personal longtime friends in there when the shooting was going on."

Athens is about 50 miles southwest of Knoxville.

Representatives for Thomas & Betts, which manufactures electrical and electronic components, could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday evening.

The News-Sentinel said the 118-year-old company is a unit of Swiss conglomerate ABB and employs more than 1,300 people in Tennessee.

No other details were immediately available about the incident ahead of a news conference scheduled by authorities for Thursday evening.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Cynthia Osterman)