MIDLAND CITY, Ala. 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 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. The driver later died of his wounds. His identity wasn't released.
The shooter took the child, authorities said.
County Coroner Woodrow Hilboldt said 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.
Midland City police would not comment, and a dispatcher at the Dale City Sheriff's office said early Wednesday that the agency was not releasing any immediate details.
Authorities from multiple agencies were on the scene and nearby residents were evacuated from their homes as a precautionary measure, said Rachel David, a spokesman for the police department in the nearby town of Dothan.
"Authorities also confirmed the presence of a child at the scene but are giving no further information at this time," David said in a news release late Tuesday.
Michael Creel, who lives on the road where the shooting happened, said he went outside after his sister heard gunshots.
"Me and her started running down the road," Creel told the Dothan Eagle. "That's when I realized the bus had its siren going off. Kids were filing out, running down the hill toward the church."