(MIDLAND CITY, Ala.) — The retired Alabama trucker who shot a school bus driver and is now holding a kindergarten student in an underground bunker was scheduled to be in court this past Wednesday to answer for allegedly shooting at his neighbors in a dispute over a damaged speed bump.
Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, has been holed up in a 6 by 8 foot bunker, four feet underground with a 5-year-old autistic boy named Ethan since Tuesday, when he boarded a school bus and asked for two 6- to 8-year-old boys. School bus driver Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was shot several times by Dykes, and died trying to protect the children.
Police said that they do not think that Dykes had any connection to Ethan, and that SWAT teams and police are negotiating with Dykes.
“I could tell you that negotiators continue to communicate with the suspect and that there’s no reason to believe the child has been harmed,” Sheriff Wally Olson said late Thursday.
As the underground standoff moved into its fourth day, tensions grew in this small community near Midland City, Ala., which is now enveloped by SWAT teams and police.
“That’s an innocent kid. Let him go back to his parents, he’s crying for his parents and his grandparents and he does not know what’s going on,” Midland City Mayor Virgil Skipper told ABC News. “Let this kid go.”
Neighbor Jimmy Davis said that he has seen the bunker where Dykes has been known to hunker down for up to eight days.
“He’s got steps made out of cinder blocks going down to it, Davis said. “It’s lined with those red bricks all in it.”
Police say he may have enough supplies to last him weeks.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Sandee LaMotte and Susan Scutti, CNN
Aria Hangyu Chen, Special to CNN
Laura Smith-Spark, CNN