A tense hostage drama is unfolding between US police and a gunman who has kidnapped a six-year-old boy and is keeping him hostage at an underground bunker.
The gunman, identified as a 67-year-old military veteran Jimmy Lee Dykes, boarded a school bus in the southern state of Alabama yesterday afternoon, shot and killed the driver and then kidnapped the boy.
Dykes then took the child to a tornado shelter on his remote property in Midland City, where they have been hunkered down throughout the night and into today.
Law enforcement authorities, including a SWAT team, have surrounded the area and continue to negotiate with Dykes.
They are reportedly communicating with him through a PVC pipe.
Dykes is apparently cooperating and has allowed authorities to send needed medication to the child.
Witnesses said the gunman boarded the bus and told the driver he needed two children "between the ages of 6 and 8," FOX News reported.
"He started telling [the driver] he needed a kid because of something about the law coming after him," a witness told ABC News.
Dykes was due to appear in court this morning to face a charge of menacing some neighbours as they drove by his house last month.
The neighbours said he yelled and fired shots over damage he claimed their pickup truck did to a make-shift speed bump in the dirt road.
The ongoing hostage situation has been described by law enforcement officials as "delicate."
Residents in the surrounding area have been evacuated.