Asst. principal: shooting suspect said they should have heeded warnings

Asst. principal: shooting suspect said they should have heeded warnings

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Amy Brace said she heard Principal Luna yell and Mark Foster said, "You know all those things they said about me? You should have listened." Amy Brace said she heard Principal Luna yell and Mark Foster said, "You know all those things they said about me? You should have listened."
Mark Foster in court Mark Foster in court

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - One of the two school administrators allegedly shot earlier in February by a Knox County teacher testified in court Wednesday the teacher told the administrators they should have heeded warnings about him.

Mark Stephen Foster is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder and carrying a weapon on school property.

Judge Geoff Emery bound the case against Foster over to a grand jury Wednesday to determine if there's enough evidence for a trial.

Foster was originally due in court Monday, but the hearing was postponed until Wednesday. He's represented by public defender Mark Stephens.

Inskip Assistant Principal Amy Brace, one of the victims, testified in the hearing. She began by pointing him out as the man who shot her.

Foster is charged with shooting Brace and Principal Elisa Luna at the school on February 10.

Brace said Foster's termination meeting started around 12:10 p.m. after kids were dismissed early due to snow. She said during that meeting Foster seemed angry but not "off the chart."

Brace testified that Foster left the meeting and came back five to 10 minutes later, asking to speak to Principal Luna. Brace was standing with her back to the two inside Luna's office when she heard Luna yell. Brace testified that Foster then said, "You know all that stuff they said about me I guess you should have listened."

Foster's brother, Anthony Foster, sent school officials explicit details last fall about his brother's mental instability by email and tried to warn them something bad could happen.

School officials opened an investigation, but said they couldn't back up the claims.

Brace said Foster shot Luna the first time, then again while she was on the floor. 

Brace said after Luna was shot, she may have pushed Foster and he shot her in the head and arm.

The last thing Foster said was "f@#*ing whores," Brace testified as he closed Luna's door.

At that point the two women were still conscious clinging to each for survival.

"She was talking and yelling and she kept saying she kept asking me are you ok had I been shot I said yes she said I can't feel my legs,"said Brace.

She said Principal Luna, who's hospitalized at a special facility in Atlanta, may be paralyzed now.

Now that Brace has with absolute certainty identified Foster as the shooter, the defense focused on Foster's mental history. The defense said Foster was discharged from the military due to mental issues, his family tried to commit him to a mental hospital and he was receiving Social Security benefits due to mental instability.

Brace said she knew nothing about Foster's 22 year history with mental instability. Brace however confirmed that several students and coworkers had complained about being scared of Foster in the past. She was the only one who testified in Wednesday's hearing.

The defense's repeated questions about Foster's mental state angered the prosecution.

"He is trying to get an insanity defense in through the back door I have never seen this happen,"said prosecutor Leslie Nassios. The prosecution said a preliminary hearing was not the stage to be discussing premeditation or whether or not Foster is mentally insane.

So the question is will Foster use the insanity defense?

"It remains to be seen if we can prove it or not,"said Stephens.

The defense has yet to give Foster their own mental evaluation. That will happen once the funding comes in once the trial process begins.

Foster has been in jail since the shooting on a $1.005 million bond. He showed little emotion during the hearing.

Brace was released from UT Medical Center a few days after the shooting.

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