By: Devin Smith
Neighbors of the Midland City man who kidnapped and is holding hostage a five-year-old boy have begun to speak out.
Authorities have still not officially released the names of the shooter or the hostage, but neighbors have identified the shooter as Jimmy Lee Dykes, a retired truck driver and Vietnam veteran, and have held candlelight vigils in the child’s name.
Negotiations continue to move slowly as no developments involving the progress of the hostage situation have arisen in the past 24 hours. Dykes has also allowed authorities to bring a number of items to the underground bunker located on Dykes’ property for the boy, including the medication, a coloring book, and crayons. At this time, the boy is still believed to be safe despite the circumstances.
There have also still been few official developments in what it may have been that motivated Dykes’ actions, though it has been discovered that he was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning to face misdemeanor charges of menacing his neighbors.
He was to face Jimmy Davis, a local area resident, after a confrontation that ended in gunfire from Dykes.
“My mom lives right down the road from him,” Davis said.
“I had my daughter with me who was only six months at the time. I was pulling a heavy trailer with a truck, and he had built a big speed bump in the middle of the road with dirt. When I came over it the weight of the trailer caused the truck to spin out. After we came back through later to leave he stepped in front of my vehicle and started yelling and cussing at me, so I told him three different times to calm down because my daughter was in the back.
“He turned and ran to his van about 30 feet away while I tried to tend to my girl, then when I looked up he had taken a pistol from his van and cocked it, so I floorboarded the truck and heard two shots go off.”
Davis said, however, that prior to the incident Dykes had never given him any problems or indications that he could be capable of doing something of this nature, and had not bothered him or his mother after the incident occurred.
Ronda Wilbur, another neighbor of Dykes, spoke of him referring to Dykes as a “mean man,” and revealing that there have been a series of events leading up to the shooting of bus driver Charles Albert Poland Jr.
“My granddaughter, who was six at the time, was over,” Wilbur said.
“We have a swing-set in the front yard. My neighbor next door came over and mean man (Dykes) saw us talking, so he took a deer stand and put it half-over his fence facing our yard about 20 yards away. He climbed up and sat there with his rifle in his lap watching my granddaughter and I.”
Wilbur said that there were also two additional occasions in which Dykes has harmed one of her dogs. During one such incident, she said, he beat one dog so severely with a pipe that it eventually died from its injuries.
Both Davis and Wilbur noted that Dykes had some peculiar habits such as digging random holes, patrolling his property line and in some cases walking the road with a flashlight and a gun. It is also the belief of Wilbur and others that Dykes may have some sort of explosives on the property, but there has been no proof of that thus far.
Two recent graduates of Dale County High School, Josh Tucker and Johnny Jackson, have organized a candle service that is to be held at the town hall in Midland City each night at 6 p.m. until the child is returned safely.
“We felt that since we couldn’t physically got down to the scene ourselves and help,” said Tucker. “That the best that we could do was to get the community together and pray.” “We knew that a lot of people would be talking about what happened,” said Jackson. “But we wanted to get into action and actually do something.”
Neighbors have indicated Dykes seemed to be preparing for something and had stored large amounts of food, water and other supplies and may be capable of staying underground for weeks on end.
We will have more as it develops and Tropolitan reporter Devin Smith remains on the scene.