Every year, nearly 3000 children and teens die from gunfire, and nearly 14,000 are injured.

Monday, February 11, 2013

5-year old Alabama boy survives bus shooting and kidnapping

"Ethan", age 5
A 5-year old boy with Asperger's Syndrome, named Ethan, was riding the bus home in Midland City, Alabama, when the driver stopped the bus at the end of a road to turn around.  That's when a mentally-unstable loner with a history of making violent threats, Jimmy Lee Dykes, age 65, boarded the bus with a gun, demanding to take two boys hostage.

The bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., heroically blocked the way, despite threats of being killed, allowing time for many of the kids on the bus to exit the rear door.  Dykes then shot Poland to death and kidnapped young Ethan.  Poland was one of Dykes' few friends.

Dykes then took Ethan to an underground shelter that was booby-trapped with bombs.  What followed was a 6-day standoff with law enforcement, during which Dykes became increasingly unstable.

On the sixth day, when Dykes opened the trap door to get some requested items, a team moved in and a firefight took place.  Dykes was killed.

Ethan was physically unharmed.  He turned six years old only a couple days later.

From an article:

The subject was 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, who boarded a school bus last Tuesday afternoon, killed the driver and took the boy into a bunker he had installed in his backyard. 
Neighbors speculated that Mr. Dykes had kidnapped the boy as part of a scheme to air his thoughts and grievances on a larger platform, and at a news conference earlier Tuesday, Sheriff Wally Olson of Dale County acknowledged that to be a major motive. ... 
For some time, officials had been able to monitor movements within the bunker using high-tech surveillance equipment, said two people who had been briefed on the operation. They had also built a mock-up of the bunker nearby, where the authorities could test various options while devising a rescue plan. 
On Monday afternoon, sensing that Mr. Dykes was becoming rattled and that the threat to the boy was growing, the authorities dropped two devices into the bunker that created loud explosions, heard by people across a highway. The explosions disoriented Mr. Dykes, and immediately afterward two or three members of the F.B.I. Hostage Rescue Team went into the bunker and retrieved the child. Mr. Dykes was killed. 
Ethan and his mother were relieved to be reunited, Mr. Richardson said. “He’s laughing, joking, playing, eating — the things that you would expect a normal 5- to 6-year-old young man to do. He’s very brave. He’s very lucky.”


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