BREAKING: Bomb threat note cause of casino evacuation

BREAKING: Bomb threat note cause of casino evacuation

OTTAWA COUNTY, Okla. — A bomb threat at “Indigo Sky Casino and Resort” prompts casino managers and local law enforcement to evacuate the gaming facility and adjoining hotel.

Melanie Heskett, General Manager of Indigo Sky Casino and Resort said a note was found in one of the casino’s bathrooms.

“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,” said Heskett.

Heskett couldn’t say who found the note, but after it was discovered around 6:30 p.m. Saturday (7/30), the evacuation process began.

The Eastern Shawnee Tribal Police Department, along with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Bomb Squad (OHP), Tulsa Police Department bomb dogs and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) all responded to Indigo Sky.

Heskett said bomb sniffing dogs from the Tulsa Police Department and the OHP Bomb Squad searched the entire facility for several hours, both inside and out, but did not find any explosive device(s).

As a precaution, Indigo Sky’s sister gaming facility, “Outpost Casino” was also evacuated and searched for explosives.

No explosive device was discovered at that location either.

“The security threat plan involving a full evacuation went great. It went as smooth as we could have hoped. We have a lot of people on our floors and a lot of staff on a Saturday night. The plan that we put in place and practice, worked well. 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,” said Heskett.

“We’ll be working with law enforcement to possibly identify the person that left this this note in the restroom,” said Heskett.

After the bomb sweep was complete, Indigo Sky’s hotel was reopened around 1:00 a.m. Sunday.

The casino, however, will remain closed until 8:00 a.m. Sunday.

Heskett said that people who left personal belongings on the gaming floor, as well as gaming chips, jackpot winnings and slot machine tickets can begin to redeem those items, starting at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning (7/31).

“The process of investigating the bomb threat will start immediately and will be conducted primarily by the Eastern Shawnee Tribal Police Department,” said Heskett.

Saturday night’s evacuation due to a bomb threat at Indigo Sky wasn’t the facility’s only evacuation of the day.

A mandatory evacuation of the entire facility was issued around 6:30 Saturday morning, due to a “possible threat” on the casino floor.

Witnesses Describe How Saturday Night’s Evacuation Unfolded

“I got there at 6 p.m. and decided to eat at the bar and grill,” said Hugh Smith, of Springdale, Ark.

Around 7 p.m. a person came into the restaurant saying everyone needs to get out, he said.

“We left our food and everything,” Smith said. “The workers were yelling at people to run and there was no time to wait on anyone or cash out.”

After waiting, Smith said he heard from a friend that casino officials told everyone to get as far back as possible and they locked the parking lot down. 

“We arrived around 4 p.m.,” said Tanya Stone, of Anderson.

Stone said she was eating dinner when security came in.

“They announced ‘everyone please get up and vacate the building to the nearest exit,’” Stone said.

Stone said her party was instructed not to go to their room or play the machines.

“Everyone got up and headed out,” Stone said.

An hour later, security officers came outside and told everyone to get to the back off the parking lot, she said.

“An hour and a half later, security came out and told everyone to go to the grass and get far away from the building,” Stone said.

Four hours had passed and security came out and told everyone to leave, she said.

“They were waiting for the bomb squad to come and clear the building,” Stone said. “They offered to shuttle people to Riverbend (Casino) for the night.”

“We had several people that didn’t have their medication, keys to their vehicles and money,” Stone said.

Stone said her party was notified late Saturday night the hotel is open, but the gaming floor will not be open until Sunday morning.

“I personally would not go back in there tonight other than to get my keys and medication,” Stone said.

“Never, at any time, were we made aware it was a bomb threat,” said Tisha Wetzel, of Siloam Springs, AR.

Wetzel said her party arrived at the casino around 6:40 p.m. and had just purchased bingo packs and found a seat. An announcement came over the intercom saying for everyone to evacuate the building, she said.

“We were never informed it was a bomb threat,” Wetzel said. “We exited the building and sat in the parking lot for over an hour.”

A security officer announced the casino would not reopen Saturday night, she said.

“We were told our things would be left on the tables where we left them,” Wetzel said. 

Two Evacuations In One Day For Indigo Sky Casino and Resort

Saturday night’s evacuation at Indigo Sky due to a bomb threat, wasn’t the facility’s only evacuation of the day.

Early Saturday morning (7/30), the casino security director for Indigo Sky was alerted to a possible threat on the casino floor.

The casino’s security director said he could not elaborate on what that “possible threat” was.

After discussing the possible threat with local law enforcement, who were called to Indigo Sky, it was decided that the threat was credible enough to issue an full evacuation order of the property.

Around 6:30 a.m., all those on the casino floor, including hotel guests and employees, were forced to evacuate the building.

Law enforcement officers worked for two hours this morning, until ultimately determining that the threat was not eminent.

The “all-clear” was issued at 8:30 a.m., allowing everyone to re-enter the building.

Melanie Heskett, General Manager for Indigo Sky Casino and Resort, attributes their emergency response plan for the quick and orderly evacuation.

“That plan was activated this morning and it worked well to deal with the credible threat at hand,” Heskett said.

Due to the developing nature of today’s incidents at Indigo Sky Casino and Resort, we’ll bring you the very latest information as it becomes available.

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