School Bus Driver Shot in Alabama; Suspect in Bunker With Abducted Child

Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013 12:37 PM

By Ronald Kessler

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A man boarded an Alabama school bus and shot the driver Tuesday before abducting a young child and holing up in an underground bunker. Police were camped outside the suspect's home as the hostage crisis continued Wednesday morning.

Around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, a man identified by neighbors as 67-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes boarded a school bus in southern Alabama as it made a stop in Dale County, and then shot the driver several times before leaving with a 5- or 6-year-old child, eyewitnesses told Alabama's Dothan Eagle newspaper. .

Michael Creel, one of Dykes' neighbors, ran outside with his sister after hearing gunshots.

"Me and her started running down the road," Creel told the Eagle. "That's when I realized the bus had its siren going off. Kids were filing out, running down the hill toward the church."

Neighbors said Dykes didn’t appear to know the child he took from the bus and has no children of his own. He added that Dykes is a Vietnam War veteran.

"I talked to a girl that was riding the bus, and she told me that he came on the bus and said, 'I need two kids between the ages of 6 and 8,'" Creel told the Eagle. "The driver told him, 'I can’t do that.' [The driver] tried to get away from the guy."

Dale County Sheriff Wally Olsen confirmed that one person had died on the scene, but would not confirm if the bus driver was the victim. Olsen also said it was unclear whether the child, who is reportedly missing, was taken into the bunker with Dykes.

The shooting comes in the wake of the Dec. 14 Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre, in which 26 were killed, including 20 children, and plunged the nation into a panic over gun-control laws.

Dykes was reportedly scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for a bench trial on a menacing charge. He remained barricaded in the bunker, with police camped out around it, the Eagle said.

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