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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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May 22nd, 2013
05:33 PM ET

Mother and baby killed seeking shelter from storm

Monday's tornado killed 24 people. Among them were a young mother, Megan Futrell, and her baby, Case. They were crushed beneath the rubble, and found by survivor Dustin Ellison.

"I knew that it was bad when I saw it, the debris was unbelievable, it took a mile-wide tornado and made it look 2 1/2-miles wide," said Ellison.

But without hesitation, Ellison pulled over his car, and ran into the tornado's wake - and all that lay buried there.

"People were screaming for us to get over here, to remove the debris from the 7-eleven, that there were people trapped in the freezer. So when I got over here we started pulling debris off, it was myself and probably 30 or 40 Oklahomans stopped to help,"

There is nothing left of that 7-eleven.

"The debris was high. All of those freezer doors were on top, we were trying to get those off," said Ellison.

But 7-eleven’s fortress-like freezer had collapsed under the tornado's powerful winds, and were buried under a pile of debris.

"We knew people had went in the freezer, and we knew that there was no way they had come out," said Ellison.

Ellison and about forty others tore at the debris, trying to get to the freezer and free the people trapped inside.

"We just didn't get there fast enough," said Ellison.

One of the victims they found was 29-year-old mother of two, Megan Billingsley Futrell, the other victim was her three-month-old son.

"It was just terrible, absolutely terrible what was there," said Ellison.

Futrell  had run into the convenience store with her son, taking shelter in the only place she thought they might survive. Ellison found her inside the freezer, her child ripped from her arms.

Ellison, a father, said it was a tough sight to see.

"You go home and hold [your kids] close, for sure," said Ellison. "I feel absolutely terrible for the families, the father that showed up here, it was heartbreaking."

The horror in Oklahoma this week will be forever shocking for Ellison, but the heroism of his neighbors is something he has always known. Asked what he was thinking when he ran to toward the wreckage, the places where people were just killed, Ellison said it was his first response.

"It's an instinct," said Ellison. "Your instinct when you see that, for me, I ran towards it."

Ellison's father used to own the 7-eleven that was destroyed by Monday's tornado. When a powerful tornado struck the same area in 1999, Ellison, his father, and his sister, handed out all the food and drink at the 7-eleven to survivors.

Helping people seems to runs in the family.


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