WELLING – Cherokee County authorities are investigating the shooting death of a Welling man.

Chief Investigator Jason Chennault said sheriff’s deputies were dispatched at approximately 6:45 p.m. Wednesday to a house fire at the home of Lester Keith Sellers, 32. Welling firefighters arrived, as did the victim’s father, Lester Sellers.

Chennault said firefighters could see Lester Keith inside the burning house and forced open a door to gain entry. But the doors were padlocked from the inside and all the windows were barred, Chennault said.

Firefighters and Sheriff’s Deputy John C. Wofford started CPR, and Wofford was doing chest compressions when he saw the victim had three bullet wounds in his chest. The younger Sellers was rushed to Tahlequah City Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Jessica Brown, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, said Sellers’ body was sent to the state medical examiner for an autopsy. Brown said OSBI personnel were at the residence Wednesday night and again Thursday, retrieving evidence.

The wounds were caused by a .22-caliber rifle. Two such rifles were found inside the residence, and Chennault said one had been jammed and misfired. Spent casings were also found. Both guns were loaded.

“We’re not sure what happened,” Chennault said. “It’s being worked as a homicide. It’s definitely a suspicious death.”

State Fire Marshal Sam Pinson determined the fire started in a back bedroom. Chennault said investigators could smell an accelerant inside the house. Investigators also found evidence of possible methamphetamine manufacturing inside the home.

“A witness told us she thought she heard an explosion, but we’re not sure whether it was related to the fire or if it was gunshots,” Chennault said.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation sent agents to process the crime scene.

Chennault said anyone who may have seen or heard something at the younger Sellers’ home around the time the fire was reported is asked to contact him at 456-2583.

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