Cleanup Continues After Deadly Van Tornado

Cleanup continues in an East Texas town where a tornado left a former Garland police officer and his wife dead, several critically hurt and dozens of buildings damaged, including schools.

Van Zandt County emergency management coordinator Chuck Allen confirmed that retired Garland police Lt. David Tapley and his wife, Brenda, were killed Sunday night in the storm.

Tapley spent 28 years with the Garland Police Department before retiring in 2006.

The National Weather Service said Monday the tornado that touched down in Van was an EF-3 with winds as fast as 140 mph.

Officials said nine people remained hospitalized Tuesday in Tyler, with four in critical condition and five in good condition.  All of the people reported missing Monday have been found.

The tornado leveled or damaged more than 120 homes in the town, leaving many with nowhere to turn.

The Van Independent School District canceled classes again Tuesday and there is no word yet when they will reopen. School was called off Monday as emergency personnel surveyed the damage.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration Monday for Van Zandt County, plus for Bosque, Clay, Denton, Eastland, Gaines and Montague (counties following storms. That clears the way for more government help.

American Red Cross officials said they expect to help about 30 people with food and water, insurance and even beds.

Area police said they set up barricades throughout the town to prevent looting.

NBC 5's Jeff Smith contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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