UK & World News

  • 6 February 2013, 8:59

Alabama Hostage Drama Ended In Deadly Shootout

A man who held a five-year-old boy hostage in an underground bunker for almost a week engaged in a firefight with US agents before he was killed during a rescue operation.

It was also revealed that Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, had reinforced the bunker in Midland City, Alabama, in an attempt to prevent entry by armed Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) officers.

Bomb technicians later found two explosive devices, one inside the bunker and another inside a plastic pipe through which he had been talking to negotiators trying to secure the boy's release.

Authorities raided the shelter after determining Dykes had a gun, saying he appeared to be increasingly agitated and that negotiations had deteriorated.

They initially declined to elaborate about how they had observed Dykes or how he died.

The rescue ended a hostage drama that disrupted the lives of many in a tranquil town of 2,400 people set amid peanut farms and cotton fields some 100 miles southeast of the state capital of Montgomery

Dykes was understood to have been a decorated US Navy veteran, having spent around five years in Vietnam.

He had had some scrapes with the law in Florida, including a 1995 arrest for improper exhibition of a weapon. The misdemeanour was dismissed. He also was arrested for marijuana possession in 2000.

He returned to Alabama about two years ago, moving onto the rural tract about 100 yards from his nearest neighbours.