Authorities Investigate After Storm Chasers' Memorial Was Vandalized
EL RENO, Oklahoma - Area storm chasers are coming together after someone vandalized the Twistex Memorial in El Reno.
The memorial was put up after the May 2013 El Reno tornado that killed three well-known storm chasers -- Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young.
Two bullets hit the marble and chipped it, and the rope hanging an American flag was cut and caught in barbed wire. Shane Duckworth, a storm chaser, thinks it happened sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Flabbergasted, I’m just blown away honestly,” he said, frustrated about the damage. “A lot of people that aren’t storm chasers don’t understand the value that these guys brought to the community. If whoever did this understood that, they probably would have had second thoughts.”
Duckworth has been chasing storms for a decade and looks up to the names engraved on the stone. Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras and Carl Young were among the best storm chasers.
Duckworth said it’s a tragedy that turned the chaser community upside down.
“Whenever they passed, it was a nightmare. Everybody looked up to these guys,” he said. He called them pioneers of storm chasing.
He and several other storm chasers have been on guard since the vandalism, even camping out into the night.
“It’s my duty to watch their backs because they watched ours,” said Duckworth.
It’s to pay respects to three heroes that died keeping the community safe.
They are working quickly to get the marble fixed. Duckworth is hoping to also get some surveillance cameras to look after the memorial.
The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office was on scene Friday and took a report of the vandalism.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 262-4787.