By Laila Kearney
(Reuters) - A man accused of fatally shooting a Southwest Airlines worker before killing himself with a gun might have been retaliating after resigning from the carrier last year, police said on Wednesday.
Lloyd Buie, 45, is accused of killing Michael Winchester, 52, while the victim walked from work to his vehicle in a parking lot at Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport on Tuesday afternoon, police said.
Winchester was the father of professional football player James Winchester, a long snapper for the Kansas City Chiefs.
"It is believed the crime was premeditated and that the suspect armed himself and went to the airport with intention of shooting someone," Oklahoma City Police Captain Paco Balderrama told a news conference.
Buie, whom authorities found dead inside his truck in an airport parking garage with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, resigned from Southwest in April 2015, Balderrama said.
"While detectives do not know whether Winchester was the target, it is possible that the suspect acted in retaliation against the circumstances leading up to his resignation," Balderrama said.
Southwest Airlines said in a statement that Buie was hired as a ramp agent in Kansas City in November 1999 and resigned in April of last year. Neither the airport nor authorities said why he left the job.
"Lloyd is the primary suspect in the shooting death of Southwest employee Mike Winchester, a 29-year employee with the airline," Southwest said.
"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 airline said in its statement.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney, additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Richard Chang and Sandra Maler)