Oklahoma City airport shut down for hours after airline employee is shot and killed

Police in Oklahoma City said that one person was fatally shot at the airport Tuesday afternoon, prompting officials to close the airport for several hours before they found the suspected gunman, apparently dead by his own hand.

Authorities on Tuesday afternoon said that Michael Winchester, an employee of Southwest Airlines and a former football player at the University of Oklahoma, was the victim killed in the shooting.

Capt. Paco Balderrama, a spokesman for the Oklahoma City police, said that authorities got a call at about 1:30 p.m. local time about shots fired in the parking lot area of Will Rogers Airport.

“We have one victim confirmed,” Balderrama in a briefing with reporters shortly before 2 p.m. local time. He had also said that at one point, police believed there may have been a second victim.

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Police did not immediately detail a motive for the shooting.

In a message posted on Twitter, Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma’s athletic director, wrote: “Our hearts are truly heavy for the entire Winchester Family.”

Castiglione wrote that in addition to Winchester, his three children — James, his son, as well as daughters Carolyn and Becca — were all student athletes at the school.

The Kansas City Chiefs posted a message of support for Winchester’s son, James, who is now in his second season with the NFL team.

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About five hours after the call to police came in, authorities announced that the suspected shooter was found dead inside his red pickup truck on the second level of the parking garage.

Authorities believe this man fatally shot himself. Balderrama said that police were not initially able to identify him because of his injuries.

Police said they swept the airport to look for other suspects, and deeming the area all clear, reopened the airport.

In the aftermath of the shooting, police had asked people to avoid heading to the airport, and all flights to or from Will Rogers were suspended while authorities investigated the shooting. Airport officials said they were slowly resuming airport operations at about 6:30 p.m.