MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (WPMI) The hostage situation continues in Midland City, Alabama. Officials say a man shot and killed a school bus driver, then took a 5-year-old boy hostage.
Officials held a news conference Friday afternoon, but had no additional details to release.
Hostage negotiators have been talking with the suspect through a PVC pipe that is attached to an underground bunker. Local officials say the boy is doing well, unharmed, and police have been able to bring the child some medicine as well as a coloring book to occupy his time.
A police source close to the investigation said that 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, the suspect, boarded a stopped school bus and demanded that several of the children get off with him. That's when police say the bus driver refused, and Dykes shot the bus driver multiple times, killing him.
Tuesday afternoon wasn't the first time Dykes walked onto a school bus, according to one of his neighbors who spoke with WSFA, our sister station in Montgomery.
"The day before, Monday, he had actually gotten on the bus and spoken with the bus driver," said Kelly Miller. "That's why they (her sons) say it wasn't out the way Tuesday when he got back on the bus."
Miller said her sons were getting off the bus at the time, and did not indicate that the conversation was hostile. Dykes had weeks before smoothed out the sand on the dirt road where the bus turns around everyday, to make it easier to travel, according to Miller.
On Tuesday, Miller said Charles Poland, the bus driver, wanted to give Dykes a gift of yard eggs and marmalade as a token of gratitude. But Dykes wouldn't come to the gate.
"And it wasn't long after that Mr. Jim called my Dad to the gate and said here, I don't want this," Miller said.
Later that same day, according to the family, is when Dykes came on the bus, shot Poland and took the child hostage. Miller's sons were dropped off just moments before.
"Being that we were one of the only people in that neighborhood that had a rapport with the man, living next door to him, he let my kids walk off that bus, and get home before any of this happened," Miller said. "I just can't wrap my arms around it."
No word from officials on how long the standoff could last. A police source said Dykes is a survivalist and may have stocked pilled rations inside the bunker.