February 4, 2013

Authorities storm Alabama bunker, rescue young boy

The incident ends a weeklong standoff, which started when Jimmy Lee Dykes shot and killed a bus driver and abducted a 5-year-old boy.

The Associated Press

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Armed law enforcement personnel station themselves near the property of Jimmy Lee Sykes, Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 in Midland City, Ala. Officials say they stormed a bunker in Alabama to rescue a 5-year-old child being held hostage there after Sykes, his abductor, was seen with a gun. (AP Photo/AL.com, Joe Songer)

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The funeral procession of slain bus driver Charles "Chuck" Poland makes its way down Highway 231 in Ozark, Ala., Sunday Over 60 motorcycles and dozens of school buses join the funeral procession. The Ozark Civic Center was packed with mourners for the funeral. Burial for Poland is in Newton, Ala. (AP Photo/AL.com, Joe Songer)

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"She must have had a direct line to God because shortly after she left, they heard the news," Knighton said.

Neighbors described Dykes as a menacing, unpredictable man who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe. Government records indicate he served in the Navy from 1964 to 1969, earning several awards, including the Vietnam Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

He had some scrapes with the law in Florida, including a 1995 arrest for improper exhibition of a weapon. The misdemeanor was dismissed. He also was arrested for marijuana possession in 2000.

He returned to Alabama about two years ago, moving onto the rural tract about 100 yards from his nearest neighbors.

Arnold recalled that, for a time, Dykes lived in his pickup truck in the parking lot of the apartment complex where Dykes' sister lived. He would stay warm by building a fire in a can on the floorboard and kept boxes of letters he wrote to the president and the unspecified head of the mafia, Arnold said.

Dykes believed the government had control of many things, including a dog track he frequented in the Florida Panhandle. Arnold said that Dykes believed if a dog was getting too far ahead and wasn't supposed to win, the government would shock it.

Ronda Wilbur, a neighbor of Dykes who said the man beat her dog to death last year with a pipe, said she was relieved to be done with the stress of knowing Dykes was patrolling his yard and willing to shoot at anyone or anything that trespassed.

"The nightmare is over," she said. "It's been a long couple of years of having constant stress."

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Additional Photos

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Law enforcement personnel work at check point Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, in Midland City, Ala., near the home where the Tuesday's school bus shooting suspect is barricaded in a bunker with a young child as hostage. Police, SWAT teams and negotiators were at a rural property where a man was believed to be holed up in a homemade bunker Wednesday after fatally shooting the driver of a school bus and fleeing with a 6-year-old child passenger, authorities said. (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)

Jimmy Lee Dykes
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Jimmy Lee Dykes

Alabama Department of Public Safety

 


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