SPLC: Hostage taker has "anti-American" views - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

SPLC: Hostage taker has "anti-American" views

Posted: Updated:

The man who ignited a hostage standoff in Midland City, Ala. Tuesday evening when he shot a bus driver and took a child into an underground bunker is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "survivalist."   An official with the Dale County Sheriff's Office told the SPLC's Hatewatch the man also has ties to the antigovernment movement.

The gunman is identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, a Vietnam veteran. On Tuesday afternoon, Dykes allegedly stormed into a school bus, shooting the bus driver four times before taking a child to an underground bunker behind his home. The bus driver, identified as Charles Albert Poland, Jr., 66.  He had been a bus driver for the Dale County Board of Education since 2009.

Tim Byrd, chief investigator with the Dale County Sheriff's Office, told Hatewatch that Dykes had "anti-America" views, though he did not immediately elaborate, saying he had to attend to the pressing investigation. Police continue to communicate with Dykes through a PVC pipe leading into the bunker. 

ABC affiliate WDHN reports the FBI has taken the lead in hostage negotiations with Dykes, who is believed to suffer from mental illness.  SWAT teams have the bunker surrounded.  It is about eight feet below the ground and reportedly has enough supplies to last a month.

Authorities said the hostage, a 6-year-old boy who has not been identified, "is okay" and had recently been delivered some needed medication.  School leaders called off classes on Wednesday because of the situation. 

Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson cautioned local residents to avoid the scene.  Some homes near the suspect's home were evacuated for safety reasons. 

Most Popular