The man who killed the father of an NFL star from 50 yards away has been named. On November 15, Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma was shut down after Lloyd Buie shot Michael Winchester, 52, dead. Winchester was the father of Kansas City Chiefs player James Winchester.
At around 1 p.m. local time, police were called to Will Rogers World Airport after a report of shots fired on the east side of Terminal Drive. There, officers found Michael Winchester, a Southwest Airlines employee wounded. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Winchester had been walking to his car when he was shot from 50 yards away with a rifle. KFOR’s Lance West reports, citing anonymous sources, that a “sniper’s nest” had been found in a parking garage at the airport.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Buie Was a Former Southwest Employee Who Resigned After Refusing a Sobriety Test on the Job
In a press conference after the shooting, authorities said that Buie had been found dead inside of his truck. The truck was parked on the second floor of a parking structure in the airport. News OK reports that Buie had been driving a red pickup truck.
According to a statement from the Oklahoma City Police Department, Buie had formerly worked at Southwest Airlines. He resigned in April 2015. Investigators believe that the shooting was related to Buie’s resignation. ABC Oklahoma City’s Chuck Goudie reports that Buie filed for bankruptcy in September 2016.
The airline said in a press release that Buie had been hired by Southwest in November 1999 as a ramp agent in Kansas City. Michael “Mike” Winchester had been a ramp supervisor. KFOR’s Sheldrea Brigham reports that while working for Southwest, Buie was “exhibiting signs and symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol.” Fox Oklahoma City’s Jennifer Falsetti tweeted that Buie resigned after refusing to take an alcohol test on the job.
Oklahoma City police Capt. Paco Balderrama said that Buie’s truck had been picked up by a “tactical team.” While a police robot was used to ensure the area around the vehicle was safe. That operation took more than an hour.
2. Information Taken From Buie’s Truck Led Officers to Search His Home
KFOR reports that information that officers took from Buie’s truck at Will Rogers airport led to a search at his home. The house is located close to SW 103rd and May street in southwest Oklahoma City. Police sources told the station that officers were seen waiting outside the home until a search warrant came through. Afterward, neighbors reported seeing cops taking items from the house.
Fox Oklahoma City reporter Bill Schammert tweeted that members of the Oklahoma City Police Department’s bomb squad were also at the home.
3. Authorities Have Called the Attack ‘Premeditated’
Oklahoma City police Capt. Paco Balderrama told the media, “This individual went there and waited Buie to take his opportunity, this was not random.”
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said in a statement, “We lost a cherished Southwest employee today in an act of violence in Oklahoma City. You all can rest assured that we will do everything we can to support Mike’s family.”
4. Around 25 Flights Were Canceled Out of the Airport
Around 25 flights were canceled due to the shooting while more were delayed. One passenger, Kent Williams, told KFOR in the hours after the shooting was first reported, “We’re still here. They’ve moved us all down into the baggage claim area,” he said. “It’s such a tragedy. I don’t know, quite honestly, what’s going on out here at the airport right now, because we’ve been told very little. And, they’re sweeping the airport with the SWAT team now.” Williams added that no information had been forthcoming to those inside the airport about when the lockdown would end. At around 7:30 p.m. local time, the airport announced that flights would be resuming.
News 9 reported that Will Rogers airport was expected to get back to normal on November 16. Passengers were asked to arrive earlier than usual and to expect longer security lines.
5. Michael Winchester Was Also a Star at the University of Oklahoma
Like his son, Michael Winchester had also been a star at the University of Oklahoma where he was a punter, according to News OK. University of Oklahoma Athletic Director Joe Castiglione tweeted, “Our hearts are truly heavy for the entire Winchester family.” In 1985, Michael Winchester won the national championship with the Sooners. He is survived by his six children, his daughter Carolyn, played basketball at Oklahoma University.