Standoff: Man shoots US bus driver, takes 6-year-old passenger; thought to be in rural bunker

Associated Press

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. - Police teams swarmed a rural U.S. property Wednesday where a man accused of fatally shooting the driver of a school bus and fleeing with a 6-year-old passenger was thought to be hiding in a homemade bunker.

The man boarded the bus in Midland City, Alabama, on Tuesday afternoon and shot the driver when he refused to let the child off, Dale County Sheriff Wally Olsen told WBMA-TV. The driver later died. His identity wasn't released.

The shooter took the child, authorities said.

County coroner Woodrow Hilboldt told The Associated Press the standoff continued early Wednesday with tactical units, negotiators and other officers at the scene.

"That's what has been described to me as an underground bunker. Someplace to get out of the way of a tornado," Hilboldt said.

The coroner said the victim, who was in his mid-60s, died of multiple gunshot wounds. He wouldn't release a name until family had been notified.

Nearby residents were evacuated from their homes as a precaution, said Rachel David, a spokeswoman for the police department in the nearby town of Dothan.

"Authorities also confirmed the presence of a child at the scene but are giving no further information at this time," David said in a news release late Tuesday.

Claudia Davis, who lives on the road where the standoff was taking place, said Wednesday that she and her neighbours couldn't leave because the one road was blocked by police.

Davis, 54, said she has had run-ins with the suspect.

"Before this happened, I would see him at several places and he would just stare a hole through me," Davis said. "On Monday, I saw him at a laundromat and he seen me when I was getting in my truck, and he just started and stared and stared at me."

Michael Creel, who lives on the road where the shooting happened, said he went outside after his sister heard gunshots.

"Me and her started running down the road," Creel told the Dothan Eagle newspaper. "That's when I realized the bus had its siren going off. Kids were filing out, running down the hill toward the church."

Midland City police would not comment, and a dispatcher at the Dale City Sheriff's office said the agency was not releasing any immediate details.

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