(MIDLAND CITY, Ala.) — A gunman shot and killed a school bus driver in Midland City, Ala., Tuesday afternoon and escaped the scene with a 6-year-old passenger, prompting a hostage situation that is still ongoing Wednesday morning.
The suspected gunman is identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 60-something military veteran, a police source told ABC News. Dykes and the child are in an underground bunker behind his home.
Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said Tuesday night that the police had information that the little boy “is OK right now.” The boy was delivered some needed medication, police told ABC News.
The police have not identified the child nor the dead bus driver.
“Extremely sensitive situation. … Our agents are working very hard with the locals for the best possible outcome to this situation,” a federal law enforcement source told ABC News Wednesday morning.
Some people in the area were evacuated Tuesday evening, and everyone in the immediate area was notified of the situation, according to Olson.
“Stay at home and pray,” Olson told homeowners living in the area.
Olson said multiple agencies have responded to the hostage situation. The FBI has assumed the lead in the investigation, and SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) teams were surrounding the bunker as of Tuesday night.
The incident began a little after 3:30 p.m. local time Tuesday. An unidentified girl, who was on the bus, told ABC News Radio the bus driver had stopped to drop off some children. The alleged gunman boarded the bus and handed the driver a note, she said.
“And then I don’t know what happened after that but he started telling them he needed a kid because of the law coming after him,” she said.
Dykes got on the bus and originally demanded that he get two children as hostages. All the children on the bus managed to escape except the 6-year-old boy, a police source told ABC News affiliate WDNH.
“He shot the bus driver, and the driver’s foot was on the gas and we went backwards. And everybody started screaming. And then the bus driver was still there and we all got off the bus and went to a neighbor’s house,” the girl said.
Dykes was scheduled to be in court Wednesday for a trial related to charges of menacing, according to court records obtained by WDNH.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Madeline Holcombe, CNN
Jackie Wattles and Amanda Barnett, CNN
Michael Nedelman, CNN
Kristina Tieken, FamilyShare