Oklahoma casino evacuated twice due to bomb threats
A bomb threat issued by an anonymous person prompted the evacuation of the Indigo Sky Casino in Wyandotte, Oklahoma, twice on Saturday. The first evacuation was conducted in the morning, and the second occurred in the evening.
The adjoining hotel was involved in the evacuation, as well as a nearby casino; however, no bombs or explosives of any kind were discovered. The second evacuation saw the guests and staff being hurried out of the Indigo Sky Casino complex by 7pm and they were not allowed to return for at least 13 hours. The customers were not allowed to be on the hotel grounds while the search was carried out.
The general manager of Indigo Sky Casino, Melanie Heskett, revealed that a note found in one of the venue’s restrooms around 6:30pm on Saturday prompted the search. However, she declined to say who found the threat note.
She said, “The note seemed to be pretty threatening and specific, stating there was indeed a bomb located on the property somewhere, though it did not say where that location was.”
In response to the threat, the Eastern Shawnee Tribal Police Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Bomb Squad, and the Tulsa Police Department bomb dogs were all called to the scene.
According to Heskett, the bomb-detecting dogs patrolled the casino and its surroundings for several hours; however, no explosives were found. The Outpost Casino, Indigo Sky’s neighboring gaming facility, was also cleared out and searched but yielded the same result.
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The GM revealed that the measures against the bomb threat went as well as management could have hoped.
She continued, “I always say, ‘If you see something, say something,’ and our staff did that as soon as that happened. We alerted guests and team members alike. All of them were great. Obviously, there was some that were disgruntled, but we expect that, and we hope that they continue to trust us with their safety and their entertainment needs.”
Heskett added that the casino would work hand-in-hand with law enforcement to discover the culprit behind the threat. The bomb threat investigation will commence immediately with the Eastern Shawnee Tribal Police Department in charge of the case. The casino was open to the public by 8am on Sunday, while the hotel restarted operations by 1am. No arrests have been made as yet.
Several customers who were in the establishment during the evacuation recounted their different experiences. A customer, Hugh Smith from Springdale, Arkansas, revealed that the rush was so great that no one could cash out their winnings.
He explained, “I got there at 6pm and decided to eat at the bar and grill. Around 7pm, a person came into the restaurant saying everyone needs to get out, he said. We left our food and everything. The workers were yelling at people to run, and there was no time to wait on anyone or cash out.”
Tanya Stone from Anderson, Oklahoma, was also at the venue. “Everyone got up and headed out,” she recalled.
The guests gathered in the parking lot were then told by the security guard to disperse and go as far away from the building as possible. They were told to leave the casino property entirely four hours later and were offered lifts to the River Bend Casino to spend the night.
Stone added that most customers were without personal items like car keys, money, or medications. They were allowed into the casino building on Saturday night, but the gaming floor was not opened till Sunday morning.
Heskett informed customers who could not carry their items from the gaming floor due to the rush could come back and pick them up as early as 8am on Sunday. This includes items like gaming chips, slot machine tickets, and jackpot winnings.