The standoff between an Alabama man holed up in an underground bunker for six days and law enforcement officials attempting to exact his surrender came to a violent end Monday afternoon (Feb. 4), according to the New York Daily News, when the FBI breached the bunker in an effort to save a 5-year-old child being held hostage from apparent harm.
"Negotiations deteriorated, and Mr. Dykes was observed holding a gun," Steve Richardson, a Mobile (Ala.) FBI special agent, said at a news conference. "At this point, FBI agents, fearing the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child."
The FBI stormed the underground redoubt at 3:12 p.m. (EST). The confrontation was over in seconds, with 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes dead and the child unharmed. Details of exactly how Dykes met his end have yet to be released. However, a source told CNN that the FBI breached the bunker through its roof after surveilling the suspect via a camera they had somehow secreted into the underground warren.
Agents had practiced assaulting the bunker at a nearby mock-up. The decision was made to go in when an FBI negotiating team felt that Dykes' psychological state was rapidly deteriorating.
A Dale County official also told CNN that Dykes was shot multiple times. It is as yet uncertain in the boy actually saw his captor get shot.
The child, now identified as "Ethan," was reported to be "doing fine" at a nearby hospital.
During the boy's captivity, Dykes had requested materials for him, such as food, toys, and coloring books, all of which were passed to Dykes, a retired truck driver and Vietnam veteran, through length of PVC pipe that jutted from the ground. Dykes also accepted medication for the boy who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
"(Ethan) is doing fine. He is laughing, joking, playing, eating ... the normal things you'd expect a 5- or 6-year-old kid to do," Richardson told reporters.
The child was kidnapped by Dykes Tuesday (Jan. 29) when he boarded a school bus and demanded that children be turned over to him. One of those children, 14-year-old Tara Singletary, told ABC News that Dykes said he was "going to kill us all."
The bus driver, Charles Poland, placed himself between Dykes and the children and attempted to reason with him. Dykes then shot Poland multiple times, according to police. While other children made to escape through the emergency exit of the bus, he grabbed young Ethan, who apparently fainted at the sight of Poland being shot, and made his way to his underground fortification located on his property.
It was there, just outside of Midland City, Ala., that police and FBI agents converged and the standoff began.
Throughout the negotiations, more and more of Jimmy Lee Dykes violent and antisocial behavior was revealed. The day after he shot and killed Poland and took Ethan hostage, Dykes was supposed to have made an appearance in court for threatening his neighbors with a gun.
Neighbors described him as anti-government and hostile, even threatening to kill animals that crossed his property. Some described him as stand-offish and a sufferer of PTSD. One law enforcement official described him as a "survivalist" type. Dykes even showed a secretive nature, constructing his bunker only during darkness. A neighbor who worked a late shift noted that he saw Dykes working between 2 and 3 a.m. on the bunker for over a year.