ONTD Political

Standoff: Ala. gunman kills bus driver, seizes boy

5:51 pm - 01/30/2013

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — A gunman holed up in a bunker with a 6-year-old hostage kept law officers at bay Wednesday in an all-night, all-day standoff that began when he killed a school bus driver and dragged the boy away, authorities said.

SWAT teams took up positions around the gunman's rural property and police negotiators tried to win the kindergartener's safe release.

The gunman, identified by neighbors as Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 65-year-old retired truck driver, was known around the neighborhood as a menacing figure who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a shotgun.

He had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning to answer charges he shot at his neighbors in a dispute last month over a speed bump.

The standoff along a red dirt road began on Tuesday afternoon, after a gunman boarded a stopped school bus filled with children in the town of Midland City, population 2,300. Sheriff Wally Olsen said the man shot the bus driver when he refused to hand over a 6-year-old child. The gunman then took the boy away.

"As far as we know there is no relation at all. He just wanted a child for a hostage situation," said Michael Senn, a pastor who helped comfort the traumatized children after the attack.

The bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave his life to protect 21 students.

Authorities gave no details on the standoff, and it was unclear if Dykes made any demands from his underground bunker, which resembled a tornado shelter.

About 50 vehicles from federal, state and local agencies were clustered at the end of a dirt road near where Dykes lived in a small travel trailer. Nearby homes were evacuated after authorities found what was believed to be a bomb on his property.

State Rep. Steve Clouse, who met with authorities and visited the boy's family, said the bunker had food and electricity, and the youngster was watching TV. He said law enforcement authorities were communicating with the gunman, but he had no details on how.

At one point, authorities lowered medicine into the bunker for the boy after his captor agreed to it, Clouse said. The lawmaker said he did not know what the medicine was for or whether it was urgently needed.

Mike and Patricia Smith, who live across the street from Dykes and whose two children were on the bus when the shooting happened, said their youngsters had a run-in with him about 10 months ago.

"My bulldogs got loose and went over there," Patricia Smith said. "The children went to get them. He threatened to shoot them if they came back."

"He's very paranoid," her husband said. "He goes around in his yard at night with a flashlight and shotgun."
"Everybody up the hill tried to avoid him," he said.

Patricia Smith said her children told her what happened on the bus: Two other children had just been dropped off and the Smith children were next. Dykes stepped onto the bus and grabbed the door so the driver couldn't close it. Dykes told the driver he wanted two boys, 6 to 8 years old, without saying why.

According to Smith, Dykes started down the aisle of the bus and the driver put his arm out to block him. Dykes fired four shots at Poland with a handgun, Smith said.

"He did give his life, saving children," Mike Smith said.

Patricia Smith said her daughter, a high school senior, began corralling the other children and headed for the back of the bus while Dykes and the driver were arguing. Later, Smith's son ran inside his house, telling his mother: "The crazy man across the street shot the bus driver and Mr. Poland won't wake up."

Patricia Smith ran over to the bus and saw the driver slumped over in his seat. Her daughter used another child's cellphone to call 911.

Another neighbor, Ronda Wilbur, said Dykes beat her 120-pound dog with a lead pipe for coming onto his side of the dirt road. The dog died a week later.

"He said his only regret was he didn't beat him to death all the way," Wilbur said. She called animal control, who came out and talked to Dykes, but nothing else happened. "If a man can kill a dog, and beat it with a lead pipe and brag about it, it's nothing until it's going to be people."

Dykes had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to face a charge of menacing some neighbors as they drove by his house weeks ago. Claudia Davis said he yelled and fired shots at her, her son and her baby grandson over damage Dykes claimed their pickup truck did to a makeshift speed bump in the dirt road. No one was hurt.

"Before this happened, I would see him at several places and he would just stare a hole through me," Davis said. "On Monday I saw him at a laundromat and he seen me when I was getting in my truck, and he just stared and stared and stared at me."


As of my submitting this, the kid is still being held hostage.
schexyschteve 31st-Jan-2013 02:58 am (UTC)

Good lord, I hope that poor child is okay. :\
lillymoo 31st-Jan-2013 03:03 am (UTC)
I used to live about 5 minutes from there and a lot of my family still does. My uncle is actually among the many police officers out there right now. GAHHH WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!?
lillymoo 31st-Jan-2013 03:09 am (UTC)
The little boy's name is Ethan. I know the article doesn't say it but it's all over my timeline right now.
kytefan 31st-Jan-2013 03:42 am (UTC)
I hope the boy gets out safe. I cannot imagine what his mother is going through. I have a six year old boy and I'd want to die if anything happened to him.
13oct 31st-Jan-2013 03:44 am (UTC)
This was for first thought too. I have a 5yr old and a 7yr old and I can't imagine the heartbreak that the little boy's family must be going through.
mamamilkshake 31st-Jan-2013 07:00 pm (UTC)
I felt ill when I came across the news article yesterday for the same reason.

The little boy has been a hostage for almost 48 hours now. I can't even imagine how his family is functioning at this point.
browneyedguuurl 31st-Jan-2013 04:16 am (UTC)
But we all know that if only the bus driver and kids had guns this could've totally been prevented. Smh!
alexvdl 31st-Jan-2013 04:27 am (UTC)
Maybe we can wait until after the kid is safe before we start making snarky comments?
jettakd 31st-Jan-2013 10:14 pm (UTC)
Not the time.
abiding 31st-Jan-2013 04:51 am (UTC)
Holy shit. What in the fuck is going on this week?

I hope the boy is released ASAP, with little to no harm.

Edited at 2013-01-31 04:51 am (UTC)
hinoema 31st-Jan-2013 04:54 am (UTC)
It's every other article now, isn't it? Unfortunately, I think this is what it will take to get people to see what's happening. Document and publicize every gun death. Make Average America see what we're doing to ourselves, what we're allowing to happen to innocent people, because of the MAH GUHN RAGHTS crowd and the callous manipulation of a powerful industry that wants us to kill each other for their bottom line.

Gun culture is fear for profit culture. I don't want to live in America the Killing Field where everyone is a vigilante.
ericadawn16 31st-Jan-2013 05:06 am (UTC)
Have you ever seen Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore?

He discusses how the media and Bush administration used fear to whip the public into a frenzy in order to pass legislation and take away rights. I know the Democrats have studied and used a lot of Bush administration policies...so we'll see how this turns out. Violence and anger is often an outward manifestation of fear processed in destructive ways so it could just be making the problem worse.

The NRA has a LOT of money at their disposal as well as Koch Brothers and every other conservative operation, it's going to be a bloodbath...and sadly, it is going to be a literal bloodbath. I've already seen so many comments in other places about how the bus driver should have had a gun and this could be averted which ignores the fact that two guns often turns into a shootout where bystanders could easily be hit in the crossfire.
lone_concertina 31st-Jan-2013 02:34 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this stuff has always been happening and always will happen, but it's getting publicized a LOT more for exactly what you said in the first paragraph.
et_tu_lulu 31st-Jan-2013 08:51 am (UTC)
I just checked the news to see if there were any updates and the poor boy is still being held hostage. :( I just can't imagine what he is going through, what his family are going through.
callmetothejedi 31st-Jan-2013 12:30 pm (UTC)
That poor little boy. His poor family. I can't imagine what they are going through. I hope that Jimmy Lee Dykes is just holding the boy hostage, and isn't doing anything worse to him, like physical abuse.
mollywobbles867 31st-Jan-2013 01:55 pm (UTC)
I just checked nbcnews.com and he is still be held captive. I hate the world.
nikoel 31st-Jan-2013 02:31 pm (UTC)
This is simply terrifying. I can't imagine living in a neighborhood with a guy like that around. That poor kid! And the poor dog!!
dw_10rosefan 31st-Jan-2013 05:05 pm (UTC)
You can watch a local livestream here: http://www.wsfa.com/Global/category.asp?C=218796&nav=menu33_4_3
aviv_b 31st-Jan-2013 05:54 pm (UTC)
That poor little boy. I hope he gets out OK.

So here's a guy, who the neighbors all fear, who beats a dog to death and nothing happens. Not even a ticket for f'cks sake. Where did the police and municipal authorities think this was going to end? With everyone holding hands and singing kumbaya?

This page was loaded Apr 20th 2018, 6:33 am GMT.