Police Identify Suspect In Oklahoma City Airport Shooting
Updated Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Oklahoma City police say the suspect in a shooting Tuesday at the Will Rogers World Airport was a former employee at Southwest Airlines, and resigned his position in April 2015.
Police allege 45-year-old Lloyd Dean Buie shot and killed Michael Winchester on Tuesday shortly before 1:00 p.m. in the airport parking lot. Winchester was leaving work when Buie allegedly shot him with a rifle from a range of approximately 50 yards.
Winchester also worked at Southwest Airlines.
Oklahoma City police Capt. Pace Balderrama said on Wednesday morning that the shooting was premeditated.
“We do not know if Mr. Winchester was the intended victim, but it is possible that the suspect acted in retaliation to the circumstances leading up to his resignation,” Balderrama said.
Police later found Buie dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a red pickup truck on the second level of the an airport parking garage.
Updated November 15 at 8:49 p.m.
Police say the suspect of a shooting at the Will Rogers World Airport is dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The suspect, who police have not yet identified, allegedly shot and killed Michael Winchester in the airport parking lot Tuesday shortly before 1:00 p.m. Winchester later died at a local hospital.
Oklahoma City Police Department Capt. Paco Balderrama said the suspect, a white male, was found in a red pickup truck on the second level of a parking garage with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Police identified the truck as a suspect vehicle and noticed a person inside the truck. After determining there was no explosive device in the truck, police discovered the suspect was dead. Officers made a clean sweep of the airport to ensure there were no other suspects or dangers.
The airport was on lockdown for approximately five hours, when operations resumed around 6:00 p.m.
“Obviously when you have a potential suspect inside a building as big as the airport and several levels of parking area to search, it’s just going to be time-consuming,” Balderrama said.
Balderrama said Winchester was either coming to work or leaving, and his murder was pre-meditated.
“This individual went there and waited for the employee to either be coming or going, to take his opportunity,” Balderrama said.
Police shut down the airport, forcing the cancelation of approximately 25 flights. Airport spokesperson Karen Carney said several hundred people were in the concourse at the time of the shooting. They were instructed to shelter in place while police conducted their investigation. Three aircraft had recently landed and approximately 300 passengers were left stranded in airplanes on the tarmac. Carney said those passengers were informed of why they were being contained for hours within the aircraft.
“It’s still a difficult situation when you are sitting there and you’re not getting as much information obviously, just because everybody’s trying to figure out what’s going on at the same time,” Carney said.
Southwest Airlines canceled all 16 of their arrivals and departures for the remainder of the day. United Airlines canceled 6 departure flights. Many inbound planes were diverted to other airports.
Carney said most of the airlines are trying to bring the rest of their arrivals into Oklahoma City overnight in order to be on-schedule on Wednesday. Southwest was the only airline to cancel all arriving flights.
“If you have the flexibility, we are definitely encouraging people to reschedule. All of the airlines here in Oklahoma City are waiving fees. They are not charging to change a reservation,” Carney said. “So if you have that flexibility, I would recommend that you try to book your flight for another day.”
Carney believes the closure of the airport will have a ripple effect on air travel both regionally and nationally.
“Airlines depend on having aircraft at certain airports and getting from Point A to Point B, and then all of a sudden you’re causing other delays and other cancelations in other airports because that aircraft is not where it’s supposed to be,” Carney said.
Winchester played football with the University of Oklahoma in the 1980s. He was the team’s punter between 1984 and 1986, and played on the 1985 national championship team. His son, James, also played for the Sooners and now plays for the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs. Mike Winchester's daughter, Carolyn, played on the OU women's basketball team. His daughter Rebecca was on OU's rowing team.
Will Rogers World Airport has been temporarily closed after one person was shot and killed in the airport parking lot.
All arrivals and departures have been suspended while police investigate the shooting, and police are advising people inside the airport to shelter in place.
The victim was identified as 52-year-old Michael Winchester, a Southwest Airlines employee who was working at the time of the shooting.
Winchester played for the University of Oklahoma football team during the 1980s. His son James Winchester also played football for the Sooners, and is currently the long snapper for the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs.
Winchester's daughter Carolyn Winchester was also an athlete at OU, playing on the women's basketball team and competing in track and field.
Oklahoma City Police spokesman Paco Balderrama did not identify a suspect or release information about a possible motive.
“We do not have any information to put out as far as a suspect vehicle or a suspect itself,” Balderrama said.
Balderrama said police are still doing a sweep of the airport parking lots and garage.
Authorities have done a basic sweep of the airport and parking lot area and confirmed this is not an active shooter situation, police said.— Darla Slipke (@DMSlipke) November 15, 2016
Passengers who were on planes or in the airport are being bused to the cell phone parking lot near SW 67th Street and Terminal Road.
The Oklahoma City Police Department first reported the shooting on Twitter at 1:12 p.m.
Police are encouraging people to stay away from the airport. Balderrama says all streets are blocked off.
“If you have a flight today, we’re just asking you to contact your airline and try to reschedule,” Balderrama said.
All airlines at Will Rogers World Airport have confirmed that they will be waiving change fees for travelers rebooking flights this evening.— Will Rogers World Airport (OKC) (@fly_okc) November 15, 2016
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