Joplin SWAT work to deter looters after Baxter Springs tornado - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Joplin SWAT work to deter looters after Baxter Springs tornado

BAXTER SPRINGS, KS (KCTV) -

People in states across the Midwest and the South are cleaning up tornado damage that has killed 19 people so far.

The hardest hit states are Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, along with both Kansas and Missouri.

In Baxter Springs, KS, an EF-2 tornado tore across eight miles Sunday. Residents can already see signs of recovery and clean up as debris piles line the streets.

Police are also out in full force to make sure no one is looting.

The Joplin tactical team arrived Monday to help, and for one corporal, this mission is personal.

"Everyone just immediately dropped what they were doing, grabbed some equipment and came over to assist any way we can," Cpl. William Davis said.

As Davis drove through the neighborhoods, he recalls seeing damage like this before.

"It wasn't until this morning we could see the amount. It was eye opening," he said. "The smell, the destruction ... it just brings back the same memories three years ago."

Davis and the Joplin SWAT team are in Baxter Springs to help the residents get back on their feet. They are also making sure looters stay away.

"If you can catch them in the act, prove they're committing a crime and take them to jail," Davis said. "They're stealing from people who lost everything they own. It's despicable."

The mission to help goes beyond repaying a thanks from all the help in Joplin.

"This is my hometown. This is where I grew up," Davis said. I had friends growing up, we'd play on these streets. It is crazy, because some of the houses we went to friends growing up are no longer there."

Davis said seeing the devastation is sad, but just seeing the response is wonderful.

"So far it's just like Joplin. Things get picked up ... good as new before you know it," he said.

Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves said 25 people were treated on scene and nine were taken to Joplin hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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