Records indicate that Jimmy Lee Dykes was free on bond from the Dale County Jail, having been charged in December with “menacing.” A neighbor named Smith told the Associated Press that the unruly Dykes had once threatened his son and daughter, after Smith’s dogs invaded Dykes property. Smith also mentioned to the AP that both his children were on the bus during the fatal shooting.
Police waited and established contact with the perpetrator, and continued that contact day after day. Then, seven days into the standoff, there came a point when the officers felt the boy was in immediate danger. Special Agent in Charge Stephen Richardson told the press, “Within the past 24 hours negotiations deteriorated and Mr. Dykes was observed holding a gun. At this point, FBI agents, fearing the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child.” “The child was recovered at 3:12 p.m. Central Time and appears physically unharmed. He is being treated at a local hospital and has been reunited with his mother.”
The Dothan Eagle reported two loud blasts from the scene just before 3:30 p.m. The initial blast came from a diversionary device, the FBI told reporters. The officers had lowered a camera into the bunker which allowed them to determine when best to enter. Following the blast, they entered through the trap door at the top. Dykes, who was injured when officers entered the bunker, was killed and the boy was rescued. Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson hasn’t said how the captor died.
Happily five-year-old Ethan has been reunited with his mother, and is receiving treatment at a local hospital. Agent Richardson stated that the boy was “laughing, joking, playing, eating – the things you would expect of a normal 5-to-6-year-old.”
Photos: NPR, CBC (Calif) News