MIDLAND CITY, Ala. – Police and SWAT teams continue to surround an underground bunker where a 65-year-old retired truck driver and his 5-year-old hostage are holed up.
The suspect, Jimmy Lee Dykes, a Vietnam veteran and survivalist with ties to the anti-government movement, boarded a stopped school bus on Tuesday and shot the driver, fleeing with a 5-year-old male passenger. The driver died of multiple gunshots.
Dykes has given no signs that he will be surrendering.
After leaving the scene of the shooting, he and the kidnapped boy hunkered down in an underground bunker on the suspect’s remote property. Police, SWAT teams and negotiators surrounded the property, starting a standoff that is now in its second day. They are negotiating with Dykes through a PVC pipe that leads to the underground bomb shelter, reports WSFA. FBI officials, as well as the U.S. Marshal’s Office, are also on the scene assisting local sheriffs and police agencies, reports AL.com.
The bunker has electricity, food and a television, reports Fox News. The suspect has been known to stay in there for eight days at a time.
Dykes was scheduled to appear Wednesday to face charges of menacing neighbors as they drove by his house.
Fox News is reporting that the shooter boarded the bus and told the driver that he needed two kids “between the ages of 6 and 8.” The driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was shot and killed after refusing to give over the students.
This was the second time in less than a week a gunman has tried to board a school bus. On Jan. 23, a person in Kansas City, Mo., who was denied a ride on a school bus fired shots at it as it pulled away.
It appears as though the kindergartener who was abducted was not specifically targeted, reports the Associated Press. Dykes just wanted to use the child as a hostage.
Schools in the area have been closed and will remain closed for the rest of the week.
- Emergency Training in an Overturned School Bus
- South Western City Schools’ Bomb Threat Exercise
- Brownsville ISD Active Shooter Exercise