KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The elementary school teacher accused of shooting and wounding his two principals appeared to calmly accept a negative evaluation about 10 minutes before the attack, one of the victims testified Wednesday.
Inskip Elementary School assistant principal Amy Brace told the court that she and Principal Elisa Luna met with fourth-grade teacher Mark Foster on Feb. 10 shortly after students were dismissed because of snow.
Brace said Luna refused to meet privately with Foster after the evaluation but did agree to talk with him while Brace was in the office. Foster left the office, then returned soon after. Brace said she was busy handling paperwork when she heard Luna scream, then a gunshot.
“I heard Elisa yell and I heard Mark say ‘You know all that stuff that they said about me? I guess you should have listened,’” Brace testified.
Brace testified Foster then shot her, stepped over her and shot her again.
Foster was ordered held for grand jury action on two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of unlawful possession of a gun on school property. He appeared in General Sessions Court with a navy jacket and tie and was represented by Knox County Public Defender Mark Stephens and assistant Public Defender Kevin McGee.
Foster had been under investigation by Knox County Schools after an anonymous e-mail to Superintendent James McIntyre that claimed Foster was a “ticking time bomb.” It was later determined that it was sent by Foster’s brother, Anthony.
Stephens questioned Brace about her knowledge of Foster’s mental condition. But Knox County Assistant District Attorney General Leslie Nassios objected to the questioning, saying Brace is not qualified to make a statement on Foster’s mental health.
After the hearing, Stephens said his client has a history of mental illness.
“That history can be documented about 22 years, maybe more, so that’s the point we were trying to make clear in today’s hearing,” Stephens said.
Brace had at least a dozen supporters in court, including family members and three teachers from Inskip Elementary. Anthony Foster also attended the hearing.
“I’m here for both sides,” Anthony Foster said. “It’s kind of uncomfortable and kind of embarrassing because he’s my brother, but I don’t think he needs to be in society.”
Brace testified that she received some 40 to 50 stitches due to a gunshot wound to her head. Luna is undergoing treatment for a spinal cord injury.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.