Yesterday a gunman boarded a school bus in Midland City, Alabama shot and killed the bus driver. He then kidnapped a six year-old boy and took him to an underground homemade bunker. (It's reported that Dykes has enough food and water to last for six months, let's hope the crisis ends soon.)
The gunman has been identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes a 67 year-old Vietnam veteran. It's believed that Dykes has possible PTSD. Dykes was scheduled to appear in court on a menacing charge against a neighbor.
The standoff is currently on-going and is entering almost a full day in the crisis, near Highway 231 North and Private Road 1539. This is where local and federal law enforcement officials have set up their command post trying to resolve the hostage situation.
The bus driver has been identified as 66 year-old Charles Poland, who is being hailed as a hero for putting his life on the line to protect the children on his bus. WTVY reports the following about Poland,
Mr. Poland was well-loved by all of us here at Dale County Schools and has been a bus driver for the school system for four years. Prior to his full-time service, he was a substitute bus driver. He was a valuable member of our transportation department, and we will forever remember his for the bravery he showed yesterday.
The Midland City Police Department, the Dale County Sherriff’s Department, ABI, FBI, Homeland Security, and other surrounding city and county agencies, are said to have responded promptly to the crisis situation. Everything within their powers is being done to ensure the safe release of the six year-old kindergarten student.
The community is planning at least two public prayer vigils. One will take place at Ozark First Assembly located 170 County Club Drive in Ozark and will take place at 12 p.m. today. The other prayer vigil will take place this evening at Midland City Baptist Church located at 1188 Hinton Waters Ave in Midland City. (The Baptist church is across the street from Midland City Elementary School.)
Our community has been touched by this tragedy and are pulling together to seek God's face for the safe return of the six year-old child. We are also asking God to give comfort to the family of Mr. Poland and to grant them his peace in the passing of their loved one. Please if you believe in prayer stand in agreement with this,
Father God we come to you in the merciful name of Jesus and ask for a peaceful resolution in this tragic situation. We ask that you would give law enforcement officials your wisdom in continuing to deal with this situation. We ask for your peace to be upon the family of Mr. Poland, and that you would comfort them, wrap them in your loving arms and let them know you are near them.
We ask that you would be with the little boy and let him feel your presence, let him know you are near him. We pray that you would give the parents your peace and ease their suffering minds. Please give them a safe return of their child, so they might hold him once again.
We thank you Lord that you will bring an over-whelming sense of guilt to Dykes because of what he has done. We thank you Lord God that you will cause remorse to enter into his being and that he would surrender peacefully to law enforcement officials. In Jesus name, amen.
We are asking for continued prayer for this hostage situation to end peacefully and for the child to be safely returned to his parents. Thank you.