Former boss: Knox school shooting suspect threatened to kill him

Former boss: Knox school shooting suspect threatened to kill him

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Mark Stephen Foster Mark Stephen Foster
"I said what would have happened if I had my wife and children with me? He said I would have shot them, too," Terry Mullins says. "I said what would have happened if I had my wife and children with me? He said I would have shot them, too," Terry Mullins says.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

OAK RIDGE (WATE) -- The former boss of the man charged with shooting the principal and assistant principal at Inskip Elementary School Wednesday says he showed signs of mental instability several years ago.

Knoxville police have charged Mark Foster with attempted first degree murder.

In the 1990's, Foster worked at Oak Ridge Tool-Engineering Inc. as a machinist. Terry Mullins is the CEO.

"Mr. Foster was an employee of ours probably about three years back in the mid 1990's. He was laid off in the spring of 1995 by his supervisor for excessive absenteeism," says Mullins.

Following the layoff, Mullins says he got a surprise visit from Mark Foster's therapist, worried that Mullins was in danger.

"His intention was to shoot me. I don't understand this. He thought me being one of the owners of the company. I was probably directly responsible for the termination, which was not true," says Mullins.

Fortunately Mullins says Mark Foster's mother had called police worried her son had left home with a gun and plans to kill.

Police arrested Foster not far from the company. Mullins said he was taken to a mental institution where Mullins later visited him.

"I said what would have happened if I had my wife and children with me? He said I would have shot them, too," Mullins says.

When he heard the news of Foster's arrest today, Mullins said he was not surprised at the way Mark Foster acted out.

What really shocked him was the news that Foster had somehow, in the last decade, managed to land a job, of all things, as a fourth-grade school teacher.

Because Mark Foster was taken to a mental institution back in 1995, there were no legal charges filed against him in this incident.

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