Gunman Shoots Bus Driver in Ala., Takes Child as Hostage

A 6-year-old passenger has been taken hostage by the suspected gunman.

January 30, 2013, 3:59 AM

Jan. 30, 2013— -- A gunman shot and killed a school bus driver in Midland City, Ala., Tuesday afternoon and escaped the scene with a 6-year-old passenger, which has prompted a hostage situation that is still going on this morning.

The suspected gunman is identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 60-something military veteran, a police source told ABC News. Dykes and the child are in an underground bunker behind his home.

Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said Tuesday night that the police had information that the little boy "is OK right now." The boy was delivered some needed medication, police told ABC News.

The dead bus driver has been identified as Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, according to ABC News' Dothan affiliate WDHN. The police have not identified the child.

"Extremely sensitive situation. ... Our agents are working very hard with the locals for the best possible outcome to this situation," a federal law enforcement source told ABC News this morning.

Some people in the area were evacuated Tuesday evening, and everyone in the immediate area was notified of the situation, according to Olson.

"Stay at home and pray," Olson told homeowners living in the area.

Olson said multiple agencies have responded to the hostage situation. The FBI has assumed the lead in the investigation, and SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams were surrounding the bunker as of Tuesday night.

The incident began a little after 3:30 p.m. local time Tuesday. An unidentified girl, who was on the bus, told ABC News Radio the bus driver had stopped to drop off some children. The alleged gunman boarded the bus and handed the driver a note, she said.

"And then I don't know what happened after that but he started telling them he needed a kid because of the law coming after him," she said.

Dykes got on the bus and originally demanded that he get two children as hostages. All the children on the bus managed to escape except the 6-year-old boy, a police source told ABC News affiliate WDHN.

"He shot the bus driver, and the driver's foot was on the gas and we went backwards. And everybody started screaming. And then the bus driver was still there and we all got off the bus and went to a neighbor's house," the girl said.

Dykes was scheduled to be in court today for a trial related to charges of menacing, according to court records obtained by WDHN.

Dykes' neighbors told the Associated Press that he was a menacing presence in the area.

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 told the AP. "He goes around in his yard at night with a flashlight and shotgun."

Ronda Wilbur said Dykes used a lead pipe to beat her dog for being on his side of the dirt road. The dog, which weighed 120 pounds, died a week later.

"He said his only regret was he didn't beat him to death all the way," Wilbur told the AP.

Another neighbor, Claudia Davis, said Dykes yelled at her and and fired shots at her 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."

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