At 3:40 p.m. yesterday, an armed man boarded a school bus in Alabama, shot and killed the driver, and grabbed a young boy. Police are now entering the eighteenth hour of a standoff with the suspect, 67-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes — holed up in an "underground bomb shelter" with his hostage.
According to local WSFA-TV, authorities are communicating with Dykes (who hasn't been officially named, but whose neighbors identified him to the local paper) through a length of PVC pipe. It's unclear whether Dykes knows his hostage, or what his relationship might be: Dykes' neighbor Michael Creel says he doesn't have kids, but told WSFA that he initially attempted to grab two children:
Creel said students told him the suspect was trying to take two children from the bus but only managed to leave with one. "He was only able to get a hold of one," Creel said the other riders told him, because the child fainted and was grabbed.
Creel said after firing on the driver, the suspect "retreated back onto his land" where "he's hidden in his homemade bomb shelter." [...] Creel said the suspect has lived on the property for around two years and, "that was one of the first things he started building."
In another second-hand account — that of the minister who owns the church behind which several of the kids hid — Dykes boarded the bus, instructed the kids to leave, grabbed the boy, and shot the driver, Charles Albert Poland, four times.
According to the Dothan Eagle, Dykes had a history of violent and antisocial behavior:
Dykes was scheduled to be in court Wednesday for a bench trial on a menacing charge.
James Edward Davis Jr., who lives near Dykes on Private Road 1539, told the Dothan Eagle that Dykes pulled a gun on him and his daughter on Dec. 10 after Dykes believed Davis had driven in Dykes' yard. Davis said he reported Dykes to the Dale County Sheriff's Department. Dykes was arrested Dec. 22 and charged with menacing.
"He's the type that thinks the government's out to get him," Creel told the Eagle. "He's not right in the head."