Alabama Hostage Standoff: Negotiators Talking To Captor Through - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Alabama Hostage Standoff: Negotiators Talking To Captor Through Pipe

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MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) - More than three days after he allegedly shot a school bus driver dead, grabbed a kindergartner and slipped into an underground bunker, Jimmy Lee Dykes is showing no signs of turning himself over to police.
    
Hostage negotiators in Midland City, Ala., tried Thursday to persuade the 65-year-old retired truck driver to release the 5-year-old, who has Asperger's syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
    
But they acknowledged Dykes could hold out for days.
    
James Arrington is police chief of the neighboring town of Pinckard. He told reporters camped out at the site Thursday that Dykes has been known to hole up in the underground bunker resembling a tornado shelter for as many as eight days.
    
Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said late Thursday that authorities were still communicating with the suspect.

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MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) - Neighbors of an Alabama man accused of holding a 5-year-old boy hostage in a bunker say the man, 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, is volatile, has anti-government views and has threatened his neighbors at gunpoint. But a state lawmaker who met with authorities say Dykes has allowed authorities to lower the boy's medicine into the bunker.
    
The standoff began Tuesday after police say Dykes shot and killed a school bus driver in Midland City and took the boy off the bus.

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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 kindergartener's family says he does not turn 6 until next week.

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UPDATE/MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) - An Alabama legislator says a 6-year-old boy who is being held hostage has been able to receive medicine and watch TV.
    
State Rep. Steve Clouse said Wednesday he met with authorities and visited the family of the boy.
    
The boy's captor is accused of intercepting a school bus on his rural road Tuesday and fatally shooting the driver before taking the boy.
    
Clouse described the standoff as a "static situation" and "a waiting game."
    
Authorities told him that the bunker on the suspect's property has electricity, food and a TV.
    
Neighbors have identified the man who lives on the property as a paranoid and combative retired truck driver named Jimmy Lee Dykes.

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UPDATE/MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) - Neighbors of an Alabama man accused of killing a school bus driver and taking a child hostage in an ongoing standoff say he was paranoid and combative.
    
The standoff went through the night after the gunman boarded a stopped school bus in the small town of Midland City on Tuesday afternoon.
    
Neighbors say the suspect is Jimmy Lee Dykes. Mike Smith, who lives across the street, said Wednesday that Dykes once threatened to shoot his children when the family's dogs entered his property.
    
The Smiths said their daughter and son were on the bus and the gunman opened fire after the driver tried to stop him from walking into the aisle to grab two children. The gunman fled with one.

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UPDATE/MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama man whose property is surrounded by police after a school bus shooting had been due in court on a charge of threatening neighbors.
    
Investigators have not released the suspect's name. Neighbors said the rural property near Dothan at the heart of the standoff Wednesday belonged to Jimmy Lee Dykes, a man in his 60s.
    
Court records showed Dykes had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning to face a charge of menacing some neighbors as they drove by his house last month. The neighbors said he yelled and fired shots over damage he claimed their pickup truck did to a make-shift speed bump in the dirt road.
    
The standoff started Tuesday after a gunman boarded a stopped school bus, shot the driver and took a 6-year-old student.

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(CNN) - A gunman boarded a school bus in Alabama, killed the driver, took a 6-year-old boy hostage and hours later was still holding him in an underground bunker, police said.

The incident started Tuesday afternoon and continued Wednesday morning with authorities still desperately trying to free the young child.

Late in the evening Tuesday, the man had the child in some sort of underground bunker or storm shelter, and authorities were communicating with him through a PVC pipe, CNN affiliate WSFA reported.

"We will continue to work diligently through the night in an effort to bring closure to this incident as quickly as possible," the Dale County Sheriff's Department said late Tuesday.

Adding to the tension was the fact that the child needs medication that has to be taken daily, CNN affiliate WDHN reported.

Overnight, authorities were able to send the child's medication down the pipe into the bunker and also determine that the boy had not been physically harmed, WDHN reported.

The incident started at about 3:40 p.m. (4:40 p.m. ET) near a church in Midland City, Alabama, in the southeastern corner of the state.

Michael Senn, a local pastor, told WSFA that he spoke to several students who had been on the bus.

He said a girl described the shooter getting aboard.

"He told most of them to get off the bus," Senn related. "And then he grabbed a little boy and shot the bus driver four times." The driver's body was removed from the bus early Wednesday, WDHN reported.

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