A “paranoid” Vietnam vet has held a kidnapped 5-year old boy for 5 days now. Why is the nation not outraged, not watching every moment of this hostage crisis? Have we become too used to this, too insensitive?
Jimmy Lee Dykes (image, top) on Tuesday boarded a stopped Alabama school bus full of elementary school children, demanded the driver hand over two of them, and when he refused, Dykes shot him dead. Then, Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 65-year old Vietnam vet, retired truck driver, and a “survivalist” neighbors describe as “paranoid,” kidnapped one of the children, a five-year old boy who has Asperger’s and ADHD, and escaped to his underground bunker.
And there he is, a crazy 65-year old Jimmy Lee Dykes, and what must be a terrified five year old boy who name police will not release.
“This much is known, according to police and witness statements: On Tuesday at about 3:40 p.m., bus driver Charles Poland Jr. was shuttling children from school to their homes when he dropped children off and the gunman boarded the bus,” WTVR reports:
The gunman demanded that Poland, 66, hand over two children. Poland refused, blocking access to the bus’s narrow aisle as at least 21 children escaped out of the back emergency door, according to police.
The gunman shot Poland four times, killing him; grabbed the boy and then barricaded the two of them inside a nearby bunker.
It’s unclear whether the gunman was after a specific child on the bus. Police have said there is no connection between the suspect and the abducted boy, whose identity is being withheld.
The suspect, who police have identified as Dykes, is holed up in a bunker 4 feet underground and built at least partially out of PVC pipe, authorities have said.
A hostage negotiator has been communicating with the alleged gunman through a 60-foot-long plastic ventilation pipe in an effort to end the standoff.
Authorities believe the boy is physically unharmed.
The suspect agreed to let police send down coloring books, crayons and prescription medication that the boy needs for treatment for Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit disorder, State Rep. Steve Clouse told CNN.
Neighbors have said the bunker has electricity, and Dykes has been known to stay in it for up to eight days, said James Arrington, the police chief in nearby Pinckard.
Dykes has been described as a self-styled survivalist with “anti-government” views, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch.
“Like something is not right with him and its just very hard to explain unless you’ve seen him and how he acts,” Michael Creel, one of Dykes’ neighbors, told WDHN Friday. “Very private and very protective of his property any belongings of his.”
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.