A man described by neighbors as “paranoid” yesterday afternoon killed a school bus driver who refused to hand over a child, then kidnapped a six-year old boy, and is still involved in a standoff with police. The status of the boy is unknown, but the murderer and the child are surrounded in a tornado shelter or “bunker.” The violence occurred in Midland City, Alabama, beginning around 4:00 PM ET.
“Neighbors say the suspect is Jimmy Lee Dykes. Mike Smith, who lives across the street, said Wednesday that Dykes once threatened to shoot his children when the family’s dogs entered his property,” San Jose Mercury News reports (although the suspect’s name has not been confirmed by law enforcement):
The Smiths said their daughter and son were on the bus and the gunman opened fire after the driver tried to stop him from walking into the aisle to grab two children. The gunman fled with one.
The San Jose Mercury News quotes the AP also:
Court records showed Dykes, 65, had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning to face a charge of menacing some neighbors as they drove by his house last month. The neighbors said he yelled and fired shots over damage he claimed their pickup truck did to a make-shift speed bump in the dirt road.
The sheriff’s office named the victim as Charles Albert Poland, Jr., 66, who had been a bus driver since 2009 for the Dale County Board of Education.
Dale County Schools Superintendent Donny Bynum said Poland was a hero who gave his life to protect 21 students. He said authorities including the FBI “are doing everything within their powers to see to the safe release of this six year-old Kindergarten student.”
“Emotions are high, and it’s a struggle for us all to make sense of something so senseless, but let us keep this young student, his family, and Mr. Poland’s family in our thoughts and prayers,” Bynum said in a statement.
Via ABC News:
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