MIDLAND CITY, ALA. Police SWAT teams and hostage negotiators were locked in a standoff Wednesday with a gunman authorities say intercepted a school bus, killed the driver, snatched a 6-year-old boy and retreated into a bunker at his home with the kindergartener.
The gunman, identified by neighbors as Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 65-year-old retired truck driver, was known 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 dragged on through the night and into the afternoon Wednesday after the gunman boarded a stopped school bus filled with children in the small town of Midland City, population 2,300, on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
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 kindergartener away.
Dykes was believed to be holed up with the boy in an underground bunker of the sort used to take shelter from a tornado.
CBS affiliate WTVY-TV in the nearby town of Dothan reports that contact has been made with the unidentified child and that the hostage is safe, but still being held captive. Police were communicating through a PVC pipe in the bunker.