The six-day hostage standoff in Midland City, Alabama has come to end, leaving the kidnapper dead and the 5-year-old boy safe.
On Friday, Digital Journal reported that 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes was continuing to hold a 5-year-old boy hostage. The boy, identified only as Ethan, was taken hostage after Dykes boarded a school bus and demanded the release of two children between the ages of 6 and 8 before shooting the bus driver four times.
WTVY is reporting that police say the child is safe and that Dykes is deceased.
A law enforcement official told Reuters "it''s over", before saying Dykes was killed, but that the boy was rescued and was uninjured.
Daryle Hendry, a neighbor of Dykes' who lives about a quarter-mile from the bunker where Dykes was keeping the boy, said he heard a boom before hearing a gun shot.
The Dothan Eagle reports that an ambulance was seen leaving the scene of the standoff a little before 3:30 p.m. CST. Shortly before the ambulance left the scene, two large "bangs" were heard in the area. The ambulance transported several law enforcement officers and unknown others to Flowers Hospital in Dothan, AL.
Police have scheduled a news conference for this afternoon. Digital Journal will keep you updated on this developing situation as soon as new information becomes available.
UPDATE 4:40 p.m. CST
A law enforcement source has told Reuters that a flash grenade was detonated to disorient the hostage taker prior to a rescue team going into the bunker to retrieve the boy. No other details about the rescue are available at this time.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has issued the following statement:
Shortly after 3:00 p.m., I spoke with Colonel Hugh McCall of the Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier. They informed me that law enforcement had breached the bunker, the child was safe and the abductor was killed.
I want to thank the law enforcement, first responders and all additional personnel who worked tireless hours to bring this situation to a resolution. They performed heroic efforts, and they should be praised for how they handled themselves in a professional manner. I am thankful that the child who was abducted is now safe. I am so happy this little boy can now be reunited with his family and friends. We will all continue to pray for the little boy and his family as they recover from the trauma of the last several days.UPDATE 5:21 p.m. CST
During a press conference, an FBI official stated Dykes was seen holding a gun. Officials feared for Ethan's safety and executed a hostage rescue attempt. During the rescue, Ethan was safely removed from the bunker, and Dykes was killed.