US man still holding boy, 5, hostage

2013-02-01 08:28
Murdered bus driver Charles Albert Poland, Jnr. (Dale County Board of Education/ AP)

Murdered bus driver Charles Albert Poland, Jnr. (Dale County Board of Education/ AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Abducted
    This is a candid, compelling account of living under the shadow of child abduction. Now R122.00
    buy now

Midland City - Speaking into a ventilation pipe, hostage negotiators tried to talk a man into releasing a 5-year-old boy and ending a two-day standoff in a rural Alabama town that started when the suspect boarded a school bus, shot the driver dead and took the child at random with him into an underground bunker.

The man identified by multiple neighbours and witnesses as 65-year-old retired truck driver Jimmy Lee Dykes was holed up on Thursday with the boy in a small room on his property that authorities compared to tornado shelters common in the area.

James Arrington, police chief of the neighbouring town of Pinckard, said the shelter was about 1.2m underground, with a ventilation 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.

Gun control debate

"He's crying for his parents," he said. "They are holding up good. They are praying and asking all of us to pray with them."

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

The standoff is one of a string of attacks involving a gun to capture national attention amid a fierce debate over gun control in the aftermath of a December massacre of 10 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school.

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

The chief confirmed that Dykes held anti-government views, as described by multiple neighbours: "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."

Hero bus driver

Authorities say the gunman boarded a stopped school bus on 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 Jnr, aged 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 on Wednesday to answer charges he shot at his neighbours in a dispute last month over a speed bump. Neighbour 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 Jnr, 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."

Previous arrests


Neighbours described a number of other run-ins with Dykes in the time since he moved to this small town in a region known for peanut farming.

A neighbour 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 aluminium 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.

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

- SAPA

Read more on:    us  |  abductions  |  gun control
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB

There are no straight lines in nature. The Samsung  GALAXY...

From R3515.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be a break through, either through quiet contemplative time to connect to your deep side or forced on you by...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.