Oklahoma City police said the suspect in the shooting at Will Rogers World Airport was a former employee of Southwest Airlines, and that retaliation was possibly his motive.
Capt. Paco Balderrama with the Oklahoma City Police Department held a news conference Wednesday morning to release new information. Balderrama confirmed that the suspect, later identified as 45-year-old Lloyd Dean Buie, was a former employee of Southwest Airlines. The victim has been identified as 52-year-old Michael Winchester, a current employee of Southwest Airlines.
According to police, just before 1 p.m. on Tuesday, officers responded to the report of a shooting at the airport. When they arrived, they found Winchester on the east side of Terminal Drive. Police believe Winchester was shot as he was leaving work and walking to his car.
Winchester was transported to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Officers quickly swept the immediate area where Winchester was found, as well as the baggage claim, ticket counters, and garage areas for any other possible victims or a suspect. Initially there was a report of a second victim, which later proved to be inaccurate.
During the investigation, the airport was closed for several hours. All inbound and outbound air traffic was suspended. Everyone inside the airport was told to shelter in place.
Officers said they found a suspicious vehicle parked on the east side of the five-story parking garage, specifically on the second level from the top. The vehicle was secured and later breached by the police department’s Tactical Unit.
Buie’s body was found inside the vehicle with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Although it is still early in the investigation, detectives working this case said they were able to determine that Buie was an ex-employee of Southwest Airlines. He resigned from his job in April of 2015.
Investigators believe this crime was premeditated and that Buie armed himself and went to the airport with the intention of shooting someone. Police said they do not know at this time if Winchester was the intended victim, but it is possible Buie acted in retaliation against circumstances leading up to his resignation.
Police believe Buie used a rifle.
After the crime scene was secured and the airport reopened, detectives served a search warrant at Buie’s home in south Oklahoma City.
As of Wednesday morning, airport officials said all airlines have returned to their regular flight schedules.
Southwest Airlines confirmed that Buie was hired as a Ramp Agent in Kansas City in November 1999 and he resigned in April 2015. Buie also served in the Army from February 1992 to June 1999.
Winchester was a Ramp Supervisor and had been working for the airline for 29 years.
"Our Southwest Family is grieving, as we are deeply saddened by the loss of our Family Member. Our focus remains on offering support to the Winchester family and Southwest Employees during this difficult time," the company said in a statement.
News 9 did check with both Oklahoma City Police and the Oklahoma County Jail, Buie has no criminal background. All that was found was a speeding ticket from years ago. News 9 also reached out to members of Buie's family but they tell us they do not have a comment at this time.