A man in Dale County, Alabama, stormed a school bus on Tuesday, shot the driver dead, kidnapped a 6-year-old and then holed up in an underground bunker — where he remains with the child in a standoff with police.
The bunker, behind a nearby church, is now surrounded by state troopers, local police departments, a SWAT team, the FBI and a bomb squad. Cops are reportedly speaking to the suspect through a PVC pipe.
WSFA 12 News reported that the boy is still with the suspect but appears to be “OK.”
Michael Senn, a local minister who said he owned the building occupied by the church, spoke to children onboard the bus, who told him the suspect boarded the bus, told most of the students to get off, grabbed the 6-year-old boy and then shot the bus driver four times:
I spoke to a young guy, 13 years old, that was really traumatized. I talked with him and ministered with him and prayed with him before he left.
The slain bus driver has been identified as Albert Poland Jr., 66, who has worked for the Dale County Board of Education since 2009.
Another man, Mike Creel, said he was the suspect’s neighbor and that he and the boy are in a “homemade bomb shelter” that the suspect began building as soon as he moved into the house two years ago.
Creel said the suspect, who remains unnamed, tried to kidnap two children but was only able to escape with one.
Authorities have not yet released the name of the suspect or information on whether he has a relationship to the boy.