OKLAHOMA CITY -- An hourslong manhunt ended when the suspect in the fatal shooting of a Southwest Airlines employee at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.
The victim is 52-year-old Michael Winchester, father of Kansas City Chiefs long snapper James Winchester.
The Winchester name is well-known to fans of the Oklahoma Sooners sports programs. Winchester and his son played football for the team. Mike Winchester was a punter in the mid-1980s and was a member of the 1985 national championship team.
James Winchester walked on to the team in 2008, following in the footsteps of his dad who was also a walk-on.
“You don’t necessarily have the size to be one of those guys whose a linebacker a lineman, and you don’t have the skill set to be a receiver or running back, but he knows if I can snap the ball and do it better than anybody else, I can be the deep snapper for OU’s football team,” KFOR Sports Director Brian Brinkley said.
Brinkley got to know Mike Winchester calling games for Oklahoma women's basketball. Carolyn was a walk-on like her dad and brother.
“You don’t necessarily have the size to be one of those guys whose a linebacker a lineman and you don’t have the skill set to be a receiver or running back, but he knows if I can snap the ball and do it better than anybody else I can be the deep snapper for OU’s football team.”
Another of Winchester's daughters, Rebecca, rowed for the Sooners. Oklahoma University's Athletic Department offered its condolences on Twitter saying “Our hearts are truly heavy for the entire Winchester family.”
"You see it at a lot of colleges in the Big 12 where the sons and daughters of former players go on and follow in their footsteps, and this is as deep a Sooner tie as you can get,” Brinkley said.
James Winchester has yet to make any comment publicly about his dad’s death. His last tweet was about Sunday’s game where he snapped the ball so Cairo Santos could send it through the uprights for a game-winning field goal. Winchester tweeted “Proud to be part of this team.”
The Kansas City Chiefs tweeted “Our Love and support is with James and the entire Winchester family. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with you.”
Oklahoma City Police continue to investigate Winchester's death. Capt. Paco Balderrama said the shooting was not random.
"It's too early in the investigation to figure out the exact motive, although the crime does appear to be premeditated," he said.
It is unclear if the shooter and victim knew each other, but "we have some basic information who the suspect might be," Balderrama said.