By: Devin Smith
A five-year-old boy is currently being held hostage in an underground bunker in Midland City after a man shot and killed a school bus driver Tuesday afternoon.
The shooter, as identified by his neighbors, is suspected to be 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes. Dykes is a local resident of Midland City, a small town located roughly 45 minutes south of Troy and just off of U.S. highway 231 in Dale County.
At roughly 3:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, Dykes boarded a school bus in Midland City and demanded that two children come with him. The bus driver, identified as Charles Albert Poland Jr., refused Dykes’ demands and was then shot multiple times. Dykes then retreated with one child into an underground bunker near his home, where he and the child remain.
Law enforcement has confirmed that the boy being held has some form of mental disability, though they are unclear as to whether it is autistism, Asperger’s syndrome , attention deficit disorder (ADD), or a combination. He does, however, require medication, which Dykes allowed to be delivered to him. Other supplies have been delivered for the boy, as well. Negotiations have been taking place through a PVC pipe that leads into the bunker.
Dykes reportedly had no previous ties to the boy.
The FBI as well as the U.S. Marshal’s Office entered the scene early Tuesday evening to assist local police, who have turned a church located on Highway 231 near the bunker into a command post.
The motives behind Dykes’ actions are currently unknown, although court records show that he was scheduled for a bench trial Wednesday morning to face a charges from a Midland City neighbor from an incident dating back to December. An unidentified girl who was released from the bus told reporters that Dykes mentioned the case after entering the bus.
Late Tuesday night law officials evacuated the area surrounding the bunker and all surrounding Dale County and Ozark city schools were canceled on Wednesday. Negotiations are still ongoing.
We will have more as it develops and Tropolitan reporter Devin Smith remains on the scene.