Such a horrible and scary news story to wake up to and because so few details are known at this point, I will be updating this article as soon as we have more information. All I know is that what we do know is one of the worst things you can ever imagine your child going through, and I feel so awful for the parents of this child who I’m sure want nothing more than to have their little boy home safe and sound. A deadly Alabama school bus shooting started Tuesday afternoon when a man in his 60’s shot a school bus driver and took a six-year-old boy hostage and kept him in an underground bunker through the night. The incident started at about 3:40 near a church in Midland City, Alabama and local residents are saying that the gunman has lived in the area for about two years. There are also conflicting reports on whether the underground lair is a storm shelter or something else. Reports state that the shooter originally tried to snatch two children, but one of them fainted while being dragged off the bus. From CNN:
He said a girl described the shooter getting aboard.
“He told most of them to get off the bus,” Senn related. “And then he grabbed a little boy and shot the bus driver four times.” The driver’s body was removed from the bus early Wednesday, WDHN reported.
Mike Creel, the suspect’s neighbor, said he also talked to some of the children who escaped the bus. It was a terrifying scene, Creel told the affiliate.
The suspect initially demanded two children, Creel told WSFA.
“The one child he got ahold of actually fainted,” said Creel. “That was the reason he was able to grab him. And now he is hidden in his homemade bomb shelter.”
Creel said the suspect had been living in the area for about two years and began building the shelter right when he moved in.
Authorities have not released the name of the suspected gunman.
Early in the morning, local authorities allowed the FBI to take the lead in the hostage situation, WDHN reported.
To make the story even more awful, this little boy requires daily medication that authorities slid down a PVC pipe that they have been using to communicate with the gunman. Sources have reported that the child is not hurt, and I really hope it continues to stay this way. More as the story develops.
The man who ignited a hostage standoff in southern Alabama when he shot a bus driver and took a child into an underground bunker is a “survivalist” who has ties to the antigovernment movement, an official with the Dale County Sheriff’s Office told Hatewatch this morning.
The gunman is identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, a Vietnam veteran. On Tuesday afternoon, Dykes allegedly stormed into a school bus in Midland City, Ala., shooting the bus driver four times with a 9 mm pistol before taking a child to an underground bunker behind his home. The bus driver, identified as 66-year-old Charles Poland Jr., later died.
Tim Byrd, chief investigator with the Dale County Sheriff’s Office, told Hatewatch that Dykes had “anti-America” views. “His friends and his neighbors stated that he did not trust the government, that he was a Vietnam vet, and that he had PTSD,” Byrd said. “He was standoffish, didn’t socialize or have any contact with anybody. He was a survivalist type.”
I wish I could have updated this story that the 6-year-old hostage was safe and sound with this family but no news as of yet. I’m sure the parents are frantic, I know I would be, and hearing that the shooter has mental issues just makes this whole situation more nerve-wracking. My thoughts are with the family and this little boy.
Update: The hostage situation continues. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I woke up every few hours and slept with CNN on waiting for updates on this story. The only thing I have heard is that the gunman beat a dog with a lead pipe when the dog got onto his property, and that he is “paranoid” and patrols his yard at all hours of the night with a flashlight and shotgun. This makes two nights that this little boy has been separated from his family. I’ll keep updating this story, but for right now I’m just horrified by it.