The 7-day hostage crisis in Midland City, Alabama is over, WSFA TV reports. The standoff between law enforcement and Jimmy Lee Dykes ended at around 3:40 p.m. ET Monday when police stormed the 6 ft x 8 ft underground bunker where Dykes and his hostage, 5-year-old Ethan, were hunkered down.
Neighbors who were earwitnesses tell WSFA that the FBI breached the door to Dykes' homemade bunker and tossed in a flash bomb to temporarily disorient him and his small captive.
The Associated Press reports Dykes, 65, was shot and killed by law enforcement. Ethan, who turns 6 Thursday, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for evaluation.
The crisis started Tuesday afternoon last week, when Dykes boarded a Dale County school bus and asked the driver for 2 boys, 6 and 8. The driver, Charles Poland, Jr., said he couldn't do that, and Dykes opened fire on him, killing him. Dykes took Ethan after the boy fainted.
After 7 days of no new developments in the case, news crews were alerted to a break in the case when they heard the sounds of gunfire and observed an ambulance leave the scene with no lights or sirens.
The end to the standoff was confirmed at a press conference about an hour later.
WSFA 12 News reporters on scene started alerting the newsroom of the first movement in days around 3 p.m. when they hearing a loud explosion and gunfire. An ambulance was seen leaving the scene but without emergency lights or sirens activated. It traveled to nearby Flowers Hospital in Dothan, where authorities later confirmed the child was transported. Dothan police officers are currently guarding the area around the emergency room and all questions to the hospital are being deferred to the FBI.
Authorities attempted for days to convince Dykes to release the child from a nearby underground bunker. Dykes was not believed to have physically harmed the child, who was given medicine, toys, coloring books and comfort foods via a PVC pipe that lead into the bunker.