UPDATE: Suspect Officially Identified as Jimmy Lee Dykes

Charles Poland
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UPDATE 4:11 P.M.

Below is a Press Release from Superintendent Donny Bynum of the Dale County Schools:

"We would like to express our appreciation of the outpouring of love and support as we go through this very difficult time. We ask that you continue to pray for Mr. Poland’s family, our students, faculty, staff and for the safe release of our student. This is and will remain our focus. We, also, ask your prayers for our law enforcement agencies as they face the task(s) that lies before them."



In a press conference that just ended Dale County Sheriff Wally Olsen officially identified the suspect at Jimmy Lee Dykes.

UPDATE 1:50 P.M.

The school bus has been removed from the scene.


UPDATE 10:02 P.M.

The 9:30 p.m. press conference yielded no new information.

Dale Co. Sheriff Wally Olson says he knows it's frustrating to not be getting those updates, but wants to remind people that their main concern is the safety of the child.


UPDATE 5:12 P.M.

McAlister's Deli of Dothan is hosting a fundraiser in honor of Charles Albert Poland, Jr., the bus driver killed on Tuesday in Dale County.

Thursday and Friday, the restaurant will donate 15% of all receipts put in a box.


UPDATE 4:56 P.M.

Authorities had no new information to report.


UPDATE 4:09 P.M.

A neighbor described the bunker the suspect is believed to be barricaded in. James Davis says the bunker is about 15x15 feet and 10-12 feet underground. He says it's surrounded by red brick and had a plywood roof, as well as a pvc pipe that runs up to a gate.

Authorities are expected to update us on the situation at 5:00 p.m.

They say they have no reason to believe the child has been harmed in any way.


UPDATE 2:48 P.M.

Ariton School and G W Long Schools will resume classes on Monday, February 4. Dale County High School, Midland City Elementary School, Newton Elementary School and South Dale Middle School will remain closed until further notice. There will be no scheduled counseling sessions on Friday, February 1.


UPDATE: 12:50 PM

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) -- Negotiators have been talking through a 4-inch-wide ventilation pipe to a man holding a 5-year-old boy hostage in an underground shelter in rural Alabama.

The standoff entered its second full day Thursday after authorities said a gunman pulled the boy off a school bus and killed the driver Tuesday.

The police chief of the adjacent town of Pinckard, James Arrington, says that the two are in a bunker that's about 4 feet underground and has about 6-by-8 feet of floor space.

He says the man identified by neighbors as Jimmy Lee Dykes has been sleeping some.

The chief also says the man holds strong anti-government views and the FBI has reason to believe the shooting of the driver was a hate crime.


UPDATE 11:37 A.M.


Alabama State Troopers say there is nothing new to report.


A press conference has been called for 12:00 p.m.


UPDATE 10:53 A.M.

We've learned that area law enforcement agencies are sending in manpower to the hostage situation. They're rotating with Midland City and Dale County authorities so officers can take breaks.

We've also learned that national law enforcement agencies are stepping in to help. FBI spokesman Jason Pack released this statement:

"We are working with state and local law enforcement to bring this situation to a resolution. Investigators have no reason now to believe the suspect has injured the child.

FBI hostage negotiators are working with state and local negotiators, said a federal law enforcement official."


A 6am press conference in Midland City revealed no new information on this ongoing situation. Stay with News 4 for more information as it becomes available.

The body of the bus driver has been released and is being taken to Sorrells Funeral Home in Slocomb, Alabama. Funeral arrangements are pending.

A small helicopter has been circling the scene for the past several minutes. The helicopter has now landed.

No word yet on what this means but stay with News 4 for more information as it becomes available.

District Attorney Kirk Adams addressed the crowd moments ago.

People are being urged to stay away from the area and says that people should pray that this situation comes to a peaceful end.

UPDATE 11:47 a.m.: Confirmed contact has been made with the hostage victim. Right now the child is safe, but still being held captive.

We will be breaking in with hour by hour updates.

Stay with News 4 for more information as it becomes available.

UPDATE 10:43 a.m.: Vivian B. Adams School in Ozark will be open tomorrow.

UPDATE 9:54 a.m.: Dale County Schools as well as Ozark City Schools will be closed for the remainder of the week.

Stay with WTVY for the latest updates on this situation The next update will be at 10a.m.


Yesterday, tragedy struck the Dale County Schools family. Today, we are extending our hearts and prayers for the safe return of one our students and we are mourning a hero, 66 year-old Charles Poland, who gave his life to protect twenty-one students who are now home safely with their families.

Mr. Poland was well-loved by all of us here at Dale County Schools and has been a bus driver for the school system for four years. Prior to his full-time service, he was a substitute bus driver. He was a valuable member of our transportation department, and we will forever remember his for the bravery he showed yesterday.

Now our thoughts and efforts are with our children. Their well-being is our number one concern. The authorities, the Midland City Police Department, the Dale County Sherriff’s Department, ABI, FBI, Homeland Security, and other surrounding city and county agencies, responded immediately to this situation and are doing everything within their powers to see to the safe release of this six year-old Kindergarten student.

We are activating our student support services and have our counselors and volunteer counselors coming in on Friday to help students through their grief, including those who witnessed this terrible tragedy.

Emotions are high, and it’s a struggle for us all to make sense of something so senseless, but let us keep this young student, his family, and Mr. Poland’s family in our thoughts and prayers. We also ask the media to please, during this difficult time, respect the families’ wishes for privacy.

All Dale County Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the week. Due to the closeness of the Ozark City System, they too will remain closed.


All Dale County Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the week. Due to the closeness of the Ozark City System, they will also remain closed.

January 30, 2013
Update 7:30 a.m.

Efforts to bring this ongoing incident to a close have continued through the night. At this time law enforcement has extended the evacuation area to ensure the safety of those living in the immediate area. The Dale County Sheriffs Department has confirmed the identity of the victim as 66 year old Charles Albert Poland Junior. Mr. Poland was employed by Dale County Board of Education in 2009 as a Bus Driver. Mr. Poland was acting in his official duties yesterday when fatally shot. The Dale County Board of Education and Dale County Sheriff’s Department would like to offer our deepest condolences to the Poland Family.

Sgt. David Dothan Police Department on behalf of Sheriff Olson


UPDATE 7:29 A.M.

The S.W.A.T. Team is back on the scene.


UPDATE 7:08 A.M.

The situation is largely unchanged. Police confirm that the suspect is still in the underground shelter with the child. Police tell us they have been in contact with the child.

We have one confirmed fatality from the shooting yesterday on the school bus. Police have not identified the victim yet.

News 4's Paul Stockman will remain on the scene for much of the day today, and as always we'll bring you any new information on News 4, wtvy.com and right here.


UPDATE 4:02 A.M.

Multiple law enforcement agencies - including the Dothan Police Dept., Dale Co. Sheriff's Office and FBI - are still on the scene at Destiny Church on Private Road 1539 in Dale County.

At 10:00 p.m., police confirmed they have had contact with the child in custody. They are communicating with him through a pvc pipe in the bunker. The child is reportedly autistic and has reportedly received medication since being taken hostage.

Witnesses and neighbors tell us the suspect is 67-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes. However, police have not officially released his name.

The situation started when the suspect entered a Dale County school bus around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Police confirm he shot the bus driver and took a child from the bus.

Police have confirmed one fatality. They also confirm that the suspect is still holding a child hostage.

Nearby homes have been evacuated for safety precautions.

The Salvation Army is making sure the officers on the scene have enough food.


9:00 p.m.
Multiple agencies remain on scene and are working diligently. No further updates are available at this time.

Update 10:00 p.m.
Due to the sensitive nature of the open and ongoing incident, limited details are being released at this time however authorities have now confirmed one fatality and also confirmed evacuations were conducted shortly after law enforcement arrived on scene. These evacuations have affected residents in the immediate area and were conducted as a precautionary measure as public safety remains paramount in this situation. Authorities also confirmed the presence of a child at the scene but are giving no further information at this time.

Update 11:00 p.m.
At this time there are no further updates and none expected for some time. The Dale County Sherriff’s Office along with assisting agencies remain on scene and will continue to work diligently through the night in an effort to bring closure to this incident as quickly as possible.

On behalf of Sherriff Olson, we would like to thank all assisting agencies for their efforts and also thank the media for assisting with keeping the public informed.

Sgt. David Dothan Police Department on behalf of Sheriff Olson


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