Alabama hostage standoff: It's over!

FBI agents kill a shooting suspect and rescue a small boy held in an underground bunker for the past week. Photo: (AP Photo) site of hostage standoff

DOTHAN, AL, February 4, 2013 - The FBI late today ended a hostage standoff in Midland City, AL, where a shooting suspect had been holding a five-year-old boy hostage for the past week. Agents shot and killed 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes who refused to release the boy since last Tuesday. The boy is fine and has been transported to Flowers Hospital here in Dothan. 

Agents reportedly inserted a camera into the bunker at one point and said they had “eyes on” Dykes the whole time. Earlier today, negotiations started to deteriorate and when agents saw him with a gun they acted and broke into the bunker. 

Details are sketchy but authorities apparently coaxed Dykes to the door of the bunker, went in with a flash bang that makes a loud noise and bright light, and shot him dead. There were probably no more than 3-4 officers on the assault team and they mostly likely had been practicing the move all week. This was reportedly one of several options they had been working on to resolve the crisis. One report indicated that drones were being flown over the site on a regular basis all week long. 

The boy, named Ethan, is reportedly fine but no details were given out and the hospital is guarded by police at every door. The boy’s mother is described as “extremely brave” and we’re certain there is a joyful reunion going on right now.

Everyone in the area is thankful to the FBI and local authorities for the way this was handled. I’m told it was done “by the book” with the top concern always being the boy’s safety. The FBI has promised more details at a press conference later this evening. 

Thank God it is finally over. 

(Get The Backstory and more at Rick’s blog 

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Rick Townley

Rick Townley was a bookseller before switching to electronic publishing with The New York Times, Reuters, Grolier and others. He is the author of a humor book, For Boomers Only – Exploring Life in the New Millennium, a supernatural novel, Stepping Out of Time, and numerous short stories. In addition to contributing to the Washington Times Communities, Rick is working on a fiction series called Stigma and resides in southern Alabama with his 7-year-old granddaughter, Chloe.


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