OKC Officers Remember Desperate Search After Deadly Piedmont Tornado

Friday, April 27th 2012, 11:35 am
By: News 9

Three Oklahoma City police officers will be recognized at the police banquet for their efforts to help save the Hamil family after the deadly May 24, 2011, tornado. The young Hamil brothers, 3-year-old Ryan and 15-month-old Cole, were killed. Their mother, Catherine, and sister, Cathleen, were seriously injured.

4/26/2012 Related Story: Hamil Family Remembers, One Year After Deadly Tornado

Master Sgt. Mark Sexton, Capt. Dee Patty and Lt. Issac Goodman rushed to Piedmont to help in the rescue efforts after the deadly tornado swept through the area. Sgt. Sexton said he knew the damage would be severe, but he was not prepared for what he would encounter in his search for survivors.

The first person he found was 5-year-old Cathleen.

"I saw her first and she was laying in the yard across the street from her house," said Sgt. Sexton. "She was alive, moaning a bit. I could tell she was hurt pretty bad."

Sgt. Sexton found Cole just a few feet away.

"He was laying about half in the pond. I pulled him up to the grass. I noticed he had a lot of dirt in his nose and mouth. I tried to get all that out and clean it all out. He seemed to be breathing a little better."

Capt. Patty and Lt. Goodman arrived just moments later and rushed to help little Cole.

"I reached down to touch him and he was so cold that I thought he had already passed," said Lt. Goodman. "But when I touched his neck to feel for a pulse he actually turned his head."

Capt. Patty knew time was of the essence, so she rushed Cole to the hospital in her own squad car. He died hours later.

A year later, the officers say they wish they could have done more, but every single one of them would do it again.