An employee of a company that makes clear plastic teeth aligners opened fire at one of its Tennessee facilities Tuesday morning, injuring three people there before police officers shot and killed him, authorities said.
The gunman, a 22-year-old day-shift employee, walked into the SmileDirectClub manufacturing facility in the Nashville neighborhood of Antioch just before 6 a.m. and shot a manager and two security guards, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said.
Security guard Johnny Hardin, 46, was being treated at a hospital in critical condition Tuesday afternoon; security guard Carlton Watson, 66, was in stable condition at a hospital, police said.
Thomas Abbott, a 54-year-old manager, was treated at a hospital and released, police said.
The shooting happened during a shift change, police said. A worker who witnessed the shooting told CNN she had just clocked in and sat down at her station when she saw the gunman, weapon in hand.
“I immediately started taking cover,” Charlotte Jennings, 53, told CNN by phone. She said she saw him raise the gun and remembers him saying, “Why you running?”
At that point, he pointed the gun and started “spraying the place” with gunfire, she said.
Police officers who were called to the site eventually encountered the gunman, who directed a semiautomatic pistol at them after being told to drop his weapon, police spokesperson Don Aaron said. Police then shot the gunman, Aaron said.
Earlier, police said the gunman had shot two people. A fourth person injured her ankle while running, Aaron said.
The pistol had an extended magazine, Aaron said. The gunman’s name wasn’t immediately released. Police also have not commented about a motive.
SmileDirectClub said “the incident was contained quickly by security personnel on site.”
“The safety of our team members is a top priority for our company and we maintain strict security protocols and a no weapons policy at all of our facilities,” the company said Tuesday in a Twitter statement.
SmileDirectClub is known primarily for working with dentists and orthodontists to sell clear plastic aligners online as an alternative to traditional braces.
‘The shots lasted so, so long’
The shooting seemed to last for a long time, Jennings said.
“The shots lasted so, so long,” she said. “He let off a lot of gunfire.”
At some point, Jennings and others ran out a nearby exit.
“I never thought I would experience it on my job,” Jennings, a lifelong Nashville resident, said. “It was terrifying. I’m traumatized. It was just so scary.”
The gunman had started his most recent stint at the company in June, but also worked there from late 2019 to early 2020, police said.
The Antioch neighborhood is about a 12-mile drive southeast of downtown Nashville.
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CNN’s Rebekah Riess and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.