MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — As the hostage standoff in rural Alabama enters a sixth day, more details are emerging about the suspect at the center of it, with neighbors and officials describing an isolated man with few friends and no close family.
Authorities say Jim Lee Dykes gunned down a school bus driver and then abducted a 5-year-old boy from the bus, taking him to an underground bunker on his property.
The 65-year-old Dykes is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. But after leaving the military, Dykes had some scrapes with the law, including a 1995 arrest for improper exhibition of a weapon — a misdemeanor that was later dismissed.
Neighbors describe Dykes as a man who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property, and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a firearm.
Meanwhile, bus driver is scheduled to be buried today. Charles Albert Poland Jr. is being remembered for his acts of kindness, from fixing someone’s tractor to tilling the garden of a neighbor who’d had a heart attack, and for his heroism in trying to protect the children on his school bus last Tuesday.