Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Ala. gunman in bunker killed in firefight, FBI says

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. — The Alabama man who held a 5-year-old boy captive for nearly a week engaged in a firefight with SWAT agents storming his underground bunker before he was killed during the rescue operation, the FBI said Tuesday night.

Bomb technicians scouring his rural property have found two explosive devices, one in the bunker and one in a plastic pipe that negotiators used to communicate with the man, authorities said.

Officers killed 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes on Monday, said an official in Midland City. The bunker raid came six days after Dykes boarded a school bus, fatally shot the driver and abducted the boy, who by all accounts was unharmed.

Dykes "reinforced the bunker against any attempted entry by law enforcement," FBI Special Agent Jason Pack said in an email. The devices found were "disrupted," Pack said, though he did not say whether that meant they were detonated or disarmed.

Officers will continue today to sweep the 100-acre property and, when they finish, investigators can more thoroughly investigate, Pack said.

For days, officers passed food, medicine, toys and other items into the bunker, which was similar to a tornado shelter and apparently had running water, heat and cable television.

On Monday, authorities said, Dykes had a gun and appeared increasingly agitated, though it's unclear exactly how his behavior changed. Negotiations, the details of which have not been made public, were deteriorating.

Agents then stormed the bunker, whisking the boy to safety and leaving Dykes dead.

Pack declined to get into specifics, but confirmed that high-tech surveillance equipment was used during the police standoff.

Neighbors said they heard what sounded like explosions and gunshots, though the FBI and local authorities didn't say how many shots were fired and by whom. No officers or agents were injured, Pack said.

The boy appeared to be doing well at a hospital in nearby Dothan on Tuesday, acting like a normal kid, relatives and Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said.

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