– Police hostage negotiators were forced into a stand-off yesterday with a gunman who intercepted a school bus in Midland City, Alabama, killed the driver and snatched a six-year-old boy.
The gunman, identified by neighbours as Jimmy Lee Dykes, a 65-year-old retired truck driver, is known locally as a menacing figure who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe. He had been scheduled to appear in court for shooting at his neighbours in a dispute over a speed hump.
The stand-off began on Wednesday afternoon (US time), after Dykes boarded a school bus in the small town.
Sheriff Wally Olsen said the man shot the bus driver when he refused to hand over the six-year-old.
Police SWAT teams took up positions around the property where Dykes lives in a small caravan.
Dykes was believed to be holed up with the boy in an underground tornado bunker.
The crisis in the town of 2300 people played out while politicians in Washington held congressional hearings about gun violence -AP