Family remembers loved one killed in Athens shooting - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Family remembers loved one killed in Athens shooting

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ATHENS, McMINN COUNTY -

It’s been an emotional 24 hours for the community of Athens, but it's been even more difficult for the family of one of the victims.

"He was kind to everyone. He never hurt anyone. Just a good guy," James Zotter’s family described.

READ MORE | A community mourns after gunman kills two at Athens plant

The Zotter family stood in shock outside of the Athens Police Department less than a day after their champion was killed in a brutal attack.

"Hurt, disbelief. I don't think he deserved it, senseless violence like this whole country we're going to have to something before something happens worse than this just lucky no one else got hurt just hate that he was the one that had to take it,” Zotter family members describe.

Thursday investigators said 45-year-old Ricky Swafford became upset with James Zotter and another supervisor before he shot and killed them both.

His daughters said they're trying to figure out how to move from a time of recent celebration, to a time of remembrance.

"He got promoted to supervisor last week, and it's sad that it's his position that probably cost him his life. You shouldn't have to worry in your work area, that's one thing you shouldn't have to do," a close family member said.
           
Zotter spent the majority of his adult life at the Thomas & Betts factory. He worked nearly 20 years for the company and spent his final moments doing what he loved. Employees say they're devastated.

"I’m heartbroken today; we as a company are heartbroken,” said Thomas & Betts Operation Manager said.

Zotter's daughters said as much as he loved his job and co-workers, he was a family man first and the one they looked up to. Now they're leaning on each other for support.

"He’s got a grandbaby he ain't going to see either we're going to try and do the best with what we have,” a family member said.

Family members tell Channel 3 they are working on funeral arrangements and appreciate the support from the surrounding community. 

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