Alabama Standoff Is Over. Kidnapper Dykes Is Dead, Little Ethan Is Safe.


By Jueseppi B.

 

 

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Jimmy Lee Dykes (Source: Dale Co. Sheriff’s Dept.)

 

 

CBS/AP) MIDLAND CITY, Ala. – A U.S. official tells CBS News that a nearly week-long hostage standoff in which a 5-year-old was being held captive in southeast Alabama has ended in the kidnapper’s death. The child is said to be okay.

 

 

Authorities said 65-year-old Jimmy Dykes gunned down a school bus driver Tuesday and abducted a 5-year-old boy from the bus before taking him to an underground bunker on his rural property. The driver, 66-year-old Charles Poland Jr., was buried Sunday.

 

 

Dykes, a decorated Vietnam-era veteran described as a loner who railed against the government, lived up a dirt road just off the main road north to the state capital of Montgomery, about 80 miles away.

 

 

CBS radio affiliate WSB says reporters heard what may have been a concussion grenade before ambulance and fire vehicles went to and from Dykes’ property about 4:00 P.M. Eastern Time Monday.

 

 

Authorities say growing speculation on the mental state of Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, was the main concern and reasoning for the invasion of the bunker at this time today.

 

 

Jim Lee Dykes, 65 — a decorated Vietnam-era veteran known as Jimmy to neighbors — gunned down a school bus driver and abducted a 5-year-old boy from the bus, taking him to an underground bunker on his rural property. The driver, 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland Jr., was buried Sunday.

 

Dykes, described as a loner who railed against the government, lives up a dirt road outside this tiny hamlet north of Dothan in the southeastern corner of the state. His home is just off the main road north to the state capital of Montgomery, about 80 miles away.

 

 

Dykes grew up in the Dothan area. Mel Adams, a Midland City Council member who owns the lot where reporters are gathered, said he has known Dykes since they were ages 3 and 4.

 
He said Dykes has a sister and a brother, but that he is estranged from his family.
Adams said he didn’t know what caused the falling-out, but that he knew Dykes “had told part of his family to go to hell.”

 

 

Government records and interviews with neighbors indicate that Dykes joined the Navy in Midland City, serving on active duty from 1964 to 1969. His record shows several awards, including the Vietnam Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. Dykes was trained in aviation maintenance and at one point was based in Japan. It was unclear if he saw combat in Vietnam.

 

 

At some point after his time in the Navy, Dykes lived in Florida, where he worked as a surveyor and a long-haul truck driver. It’s unclear how long he stayed there.

 

He had some scrapes with the law in Florida, including a 1995 arrest for improper exhibition of a weapon. The misdemeanor was dismissed. He also was arrested for marijuana possession in 2000.
He returned to Alabama about two years ago, moving onto the rural tract about 100 yards from his nearest neighbors, Michael Creel and his father, Greg.

 

Neighbors described Dykes as a man who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property, and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a firearm. Michael Creel said Dykes had an adult daughter, but the two lost touch years ago.

 

 

Here’s how the siege was ended:

 

At 3:12 PM State FBI along with assistance from State police, ended the hostage situation. Fearing emanate danger, after observing Dykes with a weapon, the FBI entered the underground bunker on his rural property and shot dead Jimmy Lee Dykes and rescued little Ethan. This move by the Alabama State FBI was orchestrated after negotiations deteriorated.

 

 

All praise and thanks to all who worked tirelessly to resolve this situation with the desired results of saving the life of little Ethan who has Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

 

Our prayers, hearts and gratitude go out to the family of hero bus driver, 66-year-old Mr. Charles Albert Poland Jr., who gave his life to protect the other children on that bus. Mr. Charles Albert Poland Jr., was buried Sunday.

 

In the nearby community of Ozark on Sunday, more than 500 people filed into the Civic Center to pay a final tribute to Poland, who was being hailed as a hero for protecting the other children on the school bus before he was shot Tuesday.

 

Poland is now “an angel who is watching over” the little boy, said Dale County School Superintendent Donny Bynum, who read letters written by three students who had ridden on Poland’s bus. “You didn’t deserve to die but you died knowing you kept everyone safe,” one child wrote.

 

Outside the funeral, school buses from several counties lined the funeral procession route. The buses had black ribbons tied to their side mirrors.

 

 

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Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, has been identified as the bus driver who was shot after refusing to hand over children from his school bus. The ongoing crisis continues in Alabama; but one must not forget Poland, who died while defending 21 children.

 

When the gunman came onto the bus, he said he “wanted two boys 6 to 8 years old,” as reported by CBS News. He started down the aisle and the children “scrambled” toward the back of the bus. That is when Poland “put his arm out to grab a pole near the front steps of the vehicle, trying to block the suspect.” He was shot four times at that point and the gunman randomly grabbed a five-year-old boy and fled.

 

Thank you Mr. Poland, for giving your life so 21 children could live.

 

 

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Hey Wayne LaPierre…Any Advice For Little Ethan The Hostage?


By Jueseppi B.

 

 

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Associated Press/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh – Heavily armed men move away from the suspects home at the scene of a Dale County hostage scene in Midland City, Ala. on Wednesday Jan. 30, 2013. Authorities were locked in a standoff Wednesday with a gunman authorities say on Tuesday intercepted a school bus, killed the driver, snatched a 6-year-old boy and retreated into a bunker at his home in Alabama. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Mickey Welsh)

 

 

 

From Yahoo News Via Associated Press:

 

Standoff: Ala. gunman kills bus driver, seizes boy

 

By PHILLIP RAWLS | Associated Press

 

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama law enforcement authorities say negotiations are ongoing with a gunman who has been holed up with a 5-year-old boy for more than a day after snatching the child off a school bus and fatally shooting the bus driver.

 

Alabama State Trooper Charles Dysart told news media gathered near the site of the standoff late Wednesday that nothing in the situation has changed. He said no additional information would be released until Thursday morning.

 

SWAT teams have taken up positions around the gunman’s rural property and police negotiators are trying to win the 5-year-old’s safe release.

 

Authorities initially said the boy was 6, but a state lawmaker who has spent time with the kindergartner’s family says he does not turn 6 until next week.

 

 

 

From The Associated Press:

 

NEGOTIATORS TALKING TO ALA. CAPTOR THROUGH PIPE

 

 

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — Speaking into a 4-inch-wide ventilation pipe, hostage negotiators tried Thursday to talk a man into releasing a kindergartner and ending a standoff in an underground bunker that stretched into its third day.

 

The man identified by multiple neighbors and witnesses as 65-year-old retired truck driver Jimmy Lee Dykes was accused of pulling the boy from a school bus on Tuesday and killing the driver. The pair was holed up in a small room on his property that authorities compared to tornado shelters common in the area.

 

James Arrington, police chief of the neighboring town of Pinckard, said the shelter was about 4 feet underground, with about 6-by-8 feet of floor space and a PVC pipe that negotiators were speaking through.

 

There were signs that the standoff could continue for some time: A state legislator said the shelter has electricity, food and TV. The police chief said the captor has been sleeping and told negotiators that he has spent long periods in the shelter before.

 

“He will have to give up sooner or later because (authorities) are not leaving,” Arrington said. “It’s pretty small, but he’s been known to stay in there eight days.”

 

Midland City Mayor Virgil Skipper said he has been briefed by law enforcement and visited with the boy’s parents.

 

“He’s crying for his parents,” he said. “They are praying and asking all of us to pray with them.”

 

Republican Rep. Steve Clouse, who represents the Midland City area, said he visited the boy’s mother Thursday and that she is “hanging on by a thread.”

 

“Everybody is praying with her for the boy,” he said.

 

Clouse said the mother told him that the boy has Asperger’s syndrome, an autism-like disorder, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Police have been delivering medication to him through the pipe, he said.

 

The normally quiet red clay road leading to the bunker was teeming Thursday with more than a dozen police cars and trucks, a fire truck, a helicopter, officers from multiple agencies, news media and at least one ambulance near Midland City, population 2,300.

 

As night fell and temperatures dipped into the low 40’s, police and other emergency workers wore heavy coats outside a small church being used as a command post. Neighbors said Dykes had a small heater in the bunker.

 

Overhead, a small aircraft with blinking lights flew wide circles high above the man’s property. An ambulance remained parked on the side of the dirt road.

 

“The three past days have not been easy on anybody,” Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said at a news briefing late Thursday. He said authorities were still communicating with the suspect, and that their primary goal was to get the boy home safely.

 

“There’s no reason to believe the child has been harmed,” he said.

 

Dykes was known around the neighborhood as a menacing figure who neighbors said once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a firearm.

 

The chief confirmed that Dykes held anti-government views, as described by multiple neighbors: “He’s against the government — starting with Obama on down.”

 

“He doesn’t like law enforcement or the government telling him what to do,” he said. “He’s just a loner.”

 

Authorities say the gunman boarded a stopped school bus Tuesday afternoon and demanded two boys between 6 and 8 years old. When the driver tried to block his way, the gunman shot him several times and took a 5-year-old boy off the bus.

 

The bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave his life to protect the 21 students aboard the bus.

 

No motive has been discussed by investigators, but the police chief said the FBI had evidence suggesting it could be considered a hate crime. Federal authorities have not released any details about the standoff or the investigation. The mayor said he hasn’t seen anything tying together Dykes’ anti-government views and the allegations against him.

 

Dykes had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to answer charges he shot at his neighbors in a dispute last month over a speed bump. Neighbor Claudia Davis said he yelled and fired shots at her, her son and her baby grandson over damage Dykes claimed their pickup truck did to a makeshift speed bump in the dirt road. No one was hurt.

 

The son, James Davis Jr., believes Tuesday’s shooting was connected to the court date. “I believe he thought I was going to be in court and he was going to get more charges than the menacing, which he deserved, and he had a bunch of stuff to hide and that’s why he did it.”

 

Neighbors described a number of other run-ins with Dykes in the time since he moved to this small town near the Georgia and Florida borders, in a region known for peanut farming.

 

A neighbor directly across the street, Brock Parrish, said Dykes usually wore overalls and glasses and his posture was hunched-over. He said Dykes usually drove a run-down “creeper” van with some of the windows covered in aluminum foil.

 

Parrish saw him often digging in his yard, as if he was preparing a spot to lay down a driveway or a building foundation. He lived in a small camping trailer on the site. He patrolled his lawn at night, walking from corner to corner with a flashlight and an assault rifle.

 

Mike and Patricia Smith, who also live across the street from Dykes and whose two children were on the bus, said their youngsters had a run-in with him about 10 months ago.

 

“My bulldogs got loose and went over there,” Patricia Smith said. “The children went to get them. He threatened to shoot them if they came back.”

Another neighbor, Ronda Wilbur, said Dykes beat her 120-pound dog with a lead pipe for coming onto his side of the dirt road. The dog died a week later.

 

“He said his only regret was he didn’t beat him to death all the way,” Wilbur said. “If a man can kill a dog, and beat it with a lead pipe and brag about it, it’s nothing until it’s going to be people.”

 

Court records showed Dykes was arrested in Florida in 1995 for improper exhibition of a weapon, but the misdemeanor was dismissed. The circumstances of the arrest were not detailed in his criminal record. He was also arrested for marijuana possession in 2000.

 

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Associated Press writers Jay Reeves, Melissa Nelson-Gabriel, Bob Johnson in Montgomery and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

 

 

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