Caitlyn Yount, a recent OBU graduate from Shawnee, took shelter for at least an hour with her family at the Shawnee Mall storm shelter as Sunday’s tornado hovered.
Yount and her family were at the mall’s movie theatre watching The Great Gatsby when she said the movie suddenly paused and a staff member announced they needed to evacuate.
“We went in a storm shelter and sat there awhile,” Yount said.
When the tornado was hovering above the mall, Yount said, a security guard came in and told everyone to ‘get down and cover your heads.’ She said the security guard came in again to notify them when the other storm reached the Bethel area.
“It was very scary,” Yount said.
While in the storm shelter, she said, everyone thought the mall had been damaged because of the sounds the tornado was causing and information given to them via texts from friends outside the mall. Once the storm had passed and they were released, Yount said her and her family drove around the mall but saw no damage.
“We thought Dillard’s was hit, but it wasn’t damaged at all,” Yount said.
She said nobody at the mall was harmed and her family went home after they were released. Because the mall staff had information that more storms were on the way, Yount said the mall and theatre closed early.
“Everyone was refunded their money from the theatre,” she said.
According to a bystander, the tornado was about a quarter of a mile from the mall.