Ground Stop Lifted After Shooting at Airport; One Killed; Operations Slowly Resuming

A ll flights were suspended at Will Rogers World Airport — which serves the greater Oklahoma City metropolitan area — approximately five hours ago due to a ground stop as the result of a shooting which occurred at the airport; but flights are slowly resuming, according to “tweets” posted from the official Twitter account of the airport.

Ground Stop Lifted After Shooting at Airport; One Killed; Operations Slowly Resuming

Michael Winchester — an employee of Southwest Airlines who was 52 years old — was confirmed dead by police just prior to 3:30 in the afternoon Central Standard Time as a result of being shot in the parking lot of the airport at approximately 1:00 in the afternoon. According to this article written by Dallas Franklin for KFOR-TV NewsChannel 4 in Oklahoma City, Winchester was rushed to a nearby hospital in critical condition before succumbing to his injuries.

Shortly afterwards, the following statement was released from Southwest Airlines:

“It is with great sorrow that Southwest Airlines confirms that a Southwest Employee who was injured during a shooting incident today at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City has died from injuries. We continue to work with the local authorities investigating this incident. As a result of the police investigation, local flight operations have been halted. We’re working to accommodate Customers still in the airport when it was locked down as well as cancelling flights departing from Oklahoma City for the remainder of the day. The Southwest Airlines Family is deeply saddened by the passing of our Southwest Family Member, and we extend our heartfelt sympathies and support to his family and Southwest Co-workers at this time.”

Winchester is the father of James Winchester, who is currently a long snapper for the Kansas City Chiefs professional football team.

As authorities had been safely moving passengers via bus from the terminal at Will Rogers World Airport to a safer location after they were asked to shelter in place, all airlines whose flights were affected by this incident will waive change fees for travelers whose flight plans were abruptly interrupted by the incident if they rebook their flights this evening.

The suspect had not yet been identified by police, who confirmed that he “was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in the back of a pickup on the second level of the airport’s parking garage”, according to the aforementioned article.

The reason for the shooting is still unknown at this time. An investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies is currently under way.

Summary

My thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of Michael Winchester — as well as his colleagues at Southwest Airlines — from what appears to be a senseless and tragic shooting.

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