A Southwest Airlines employee was shot outside Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport on Tuesday. He died after police closed the sprawling complex to search for his killer. The suspected gunman has been found dead of an apparent suicide, reports say.
The police described it as an intentional attack. He occurred while hundreds of people waited for flights nearby, police said.
Michael Winchester, 52, was shot while walking between a crowded terminal and the parking area. The unidentified suspect was later found dead in a pickup truck in public parking garage. Police said the suspect appeared to die of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Oklahoma City Police Capt. Paco Balderrama said the shooter apparently knew the victim's schedule and routine. "This individual went there and waited for the employee to either be coming or going to take this opportunity," Balderrama said.
Police found the suspect's truck in the garage about three hours after the shooting. It was determined that someone was inside. They were not sure whether he was dead or alive. After about 75 minutes, using a robot, officers determined the suspect was dead.
The airline said, “The Southwest Airlines family is deeply saddened by the passing of our Southwest family member. We extend our heartfelt sympathies and support to his family and Southwest co-workers at this time.”The airport was closed to commercial traffic for hours, though one government plane landed.
Once police determined that a suspect found in a red pickup truck on the second floor of a public parking garage was dead, officers gave an all-clear.
Airport spokeswoman Karen Carney says the closure had 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. 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.”