Chiefs

Father of Chiefs long snapper killed in Oklahoma City shooting on Tuesday

James Winchester became the Chiefs’ long snapper before last season, when he beat out Andrew East for the job.
James Winchester became the Chiefs’ long snapper before last season, when he beat out Andrew East for the job. deulitt@kcstar.com

The father of Chiefs long snapper James Winchester was killed in a shooting Tuesday in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City Police Department said that Michael Winchester, an employee of Southwest Airlines, was shot in a parking lot around 1 p.m. at Will Rogers World Airport and was eventually taken to a hospital, where he died.

Ken Sarnoff, James Winchester’s agent, confirmed that his client’s father was killed due to “tragic” and “senseless” gun violence.

The Chiefs released a statement of support for Winchester’s family.

“Our love and support is with James and the entire Winchester family,” the statement said. “Our heartfelt thoughts & prayers are with you.”

Capt. Paco Balderrama of the Oklahoma City police said a white male suspect was found dead with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in a red pickup truck on the second level of an airport parking garage.

Balderrama said he believes Michael Winchester was working at the time of his murder.

“We do believe this was a premeditated act,” Balderrama said. “This was not random. Obviously the investigation is ongoing, in relation to the details.”

Balderrama said the motive had not been determined and the suspect had not been positively identified, partly due to the extent of his injuries.

Winchester, 52, was a punter from 1984 to 1985 for Oklahoma, where his son, James, also snapped from 2009 to 2011.

Chiefs defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches, a teammate of Winchester’s, tweeted a message of support.

“At times like this, family is what keeps us whole,” Nunez-Roches said. “My heart goes out to @J_Winchester41.”

Southwest Airlines also released a statement on Tuesday.

“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,” the statement read.

After a long closure on Tuesday, the airport reopened in the early evening.

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