DOTHAN, AL, January 30, 2013 — A six-year-old boy is still being held hostage at a house in Midland City, Alabama, after he was abducted yesterday by an elderly man who took the boy and fatally shot a school bus driver.
The man is barricaded in a homemade underground bunker at his home and negotiators have spoken with him through a PVC pipe into the bunker. The boy is reportedly autistic and has received medicine since being taken captive. FBI agents and police from two counties have been on the scene since yesterday afternoon.
On Wednesday afternoon, about 3:30 P.M., a 67-year-old man approached a school bus as it stopped near his home. He approached the bus and demanded to be given two small children. The driver reacted as he was trained to do in an emergency and triggered an alarm on the vehicle, but was shot three times by the older man. The shooter, later identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes, a retired Vietnam veteran, then grabbed a six-year-old boy and ran off.
A neighbor saw some of the incident and gave chase but Dykes was able to get away and barricaded himself in a homemade bunker at his home. Dykes was described as suffering from paranoia and believed the government was going to “get him” one day.
He is not popular and neighbors believe he suffered from mental problems. One resident recalled seeing him attack his dog with a shovel while digging his bunker. Dykes was arrested for “menacing” in December and has a pending court date, but additional details are sketchy.
The area around Dykes’ house has been evacuated and negotiators are still trying to bring a peaceful end to the incident. Authorities are releasing very little information at this time. The fatally wounded bus driver was identified as 66-year-old Albert Poland Jr. He was employed by the Dale County Board of Education since 2009. Salvation Army workers are also at the scene and are providing food and beverages for officials and police.
The area where the incident occurred is in an undeveloped rural area a few miles north of Dothan, AL, along Highway 231. The highway is a major road toward Montgomery and was closed for several hours on Wednesday until authorities were certain there would be no further gunfire. Governor Robert Bentley and US Representative Martha Roby are personally monitoring the situation. All schools in Dale County are closed today.
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