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February 6, 2013

Man engaged in ‘firefight’ with SWAT

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. — The man who held a 5-year-old boy captive for nearly a week engaged in a firefight with SWAT agents storming his underground bunker before he was killed during the rescue operation, the FBI said Tuesday night. Also, bomb technicians scouring the property found two explosive devices, one in the bunker, the other in a plastic pipe negotiators used to communicate with the man.

Officers killed Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, on Monday, said a law enforcement official in Midland City. The bunker raid came six days after Dykes boarded a school bus, fatally shot the driver and abducted the boy, who by all accounts was unharmed.

Dykes “reinforced the bunker against any attempted entry by law enforcement,” FBI Special Agent Jason Pack said in an email. The devices found were “disrupted,” Pack said, though he did not say whether that meant they were detonated or disarmed. Officers will continue to sweep the 100-acre property, Pack said.

For days, officers passed food, medicine, toys and other items into the bunker, which was similar to a tornado shelter and apparently had running water, heat and cable television.

On Monday, authorities said Dykes had a gun and appeared increasingly agitated, though it’s unclear exactly how his behavior changed.

Negotiations — the details of which have not been made public — were deteriorating. Agents stormed the bunker, whisking the boy to safety and leaving Dykes dead. The official who confirmed that officers killed Dykes requested anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

Neighbors said they heard what sounded like explosions and gunshots, though the FBI and local authorities would not confirm if shots were fired or explosives detonated.

By all accounts, despite his ordeal, the 5-year-old appeared to be acting like a normal kid, people around him say. He was running around, playing with a toy dinosaur and other action figures, eating a turkey sandwich and watching “SpongeBob SquarePants,” relatives and Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said.

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