Jimmy Lee Dykes, described as an anti-American survivalist, is dead; shot to death by police officers in Midland City, Dale County, Alabama. In Midland City last week, Dykes boarded a bus driven by 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland Jr., a retired diesel mechanic, and demanded to remove two children. Poland placed himself between Dykes and the children. Dykes, a Vietnam veteran, shot and killed the driver, took a five-year-old boy named Ethan hostage, and escaped. Four spent shotgun shells were recovered from the scene.
Jimmy Lee Dykes has been described as standoffish; not one to socialize. Danny Dean, a neighbor, said, “He's always got a shovel; he loved to shovel for some damn reason.” Mr. Dean recalls having seen Jimmy Lee Dykes on several occasions. “On Monday I saw him at a laundra-mat and he seen me when I was getting in my truck, and he just stared and stared at me.” Neighbor Michael Creel told local papers, “He’s the type that thinks the government’s out to get him. He’s not right in the head.”
Dykes had an underground bunker in his back yard area, and he took the boy there, knowing the police would not be far behind. The bunker had been stocked with supplies, including a portable electric heater and a television set. There was a long ventilation pipe that extended to the front of Dykes’s property. Dykes could hear those who approached while they were some distance off.
Police and FBI agents were cautious as they reached the Dykes property and the bunker. They waited for an opportunity to rescue young Ethan, while being cautious not to incite Dykes to harm or kill the boy. They were able to bring in toys, food, and medicine (like Cheez-Its and a red Hot Wheels car). The boy was unharmed at that point, and the police were patient.