Man dead after shooting at Wynnewood animal park - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Man dead after shooting at Wynnewood animal park

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File photo of a tiger at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. (KTEN) File photo of a tiger at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park. (KTEN)
Joe "Joe Exotic" Maldonado speaking to KTEN in January 2016. (KTEN) Joe "Joe Exotic" Maldonado speaking to KTEN in January 2016. (KTEN)

GARVIN COUNTY, Okla. -- The Garvin County Sheriff said a man was pronounced dead after a shooting at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park.

The incident happened just before 1 p.m. Friday in a gift shop at the facility that calls itself the world's largest private zoo of big cats.

According to the initial report, the victim, identified as zoo employee Travis Maldonado, had shot himself in the head.

Employees routinely carry firearms at the wildlife facility.

Investigators are still looking into events that surrounded Maldonado's death, and there has been no ruling into the manner of his demise.

The animal park was open for business at the time of the incident. Deputies were trying to locate two park visitors who left the shooting scene before they arrived. 

The colorful founder of the zoo, Joe "Joe Exotic" Maldonado, told Oklahoma City television station KOKH that Travis was his husband, and that the shooting was accidental.

In a tweet, State Rep. Scott Inman (D-District 94) offered his condolences after hearing about the "horrible news."

Maldonado ran for president in 2015 and is currently running for Oklahoma governor as a Libertarian candidate. He was planning to make a statement on Saturday morning.

The zoo opened for business in October 1999 and is home to more than 100 animal species including several hundred big cats. 

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