The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 30, 2013

Standoff: Man shoots bus driver, takes child in Dale County



MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) — Police, SWAT teams and negotiators were at a rural property where a man was believed to be holed up in a homemade bunker Wednesday after fatally shooting the driver of a school bus and fleeing with a 6-year-old child passenger, authorities said.

The man boarded the stopped school bus in the town of Midland City on Tuesday afternoon and shot the driver when he refused to let the child off the bus, Dale County Sheriff Wally Olsen told WBMA-TV (http://bit.ly/WthpQh). The driver later died of his wounds. His identity wasn't released.

The shooter took the child, authorities said.

County coroner Woodrow Hilboldt told The Associated Press the overnight standoff continued early Wednesday with tactical units, negotiators and other officers at the scene near a church. He said the suspect was believed to be in an underground shelter on his property.

"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.

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

Davis, 54, said she has had run-ins with the man suspected as the shooter.

"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 laundry mat and he seen me when I was getting in my truck and he just started and stared and stared at me."

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