In Alabama, Hostage Standoff Continues; Child Thought To Be Unharmed
The scary situation remains unchanged in southeast Alabama, where authorities say a man shot and killed a school bus driver on Tuesday and then took a 5-year-old boy to an underground bunker.
Dan Carsen of NPR member station WBHM tells our Newscast Desk that police are communicating with the kidnapper through a PVC pipe that connects to the bunker. Identified as 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, the suspect is "described by neighbors as a paranoid and combative" man, Dan adds, with "extreme anti-government views." He also reports that "neighbors told media Dykes had threatened them, regularly patrolled his yard with a gun, and killed pets. His bunker has electricity: the boy has reportedly been coloring and watching TV."
AL.com reports that this morning that "Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said ... there is no change in Midland City. ... An army of officers from local, state, and federal agencies is on the scene, where negotiations have entered their 40th hour." And the news outlet adds that:
"The 5-year-old child, whose name is not being released, is autistic, according to law enforcement sources. He requires medication, which Dykes has allowed to be delivered through a PVC pipe."
The man Dykes allegedly killed was 66-year-old bus driver Charles Albert Poland Jr., who AL.com writes "is said to have refused Dykes' request for two children before Dykes shot him up to four times.
Update at 8:15 a.m. ET, Feb. 1: The standoff continues.