Audio: Ala. bus driver wouldn't hand kids to gunman in bunker abduction

FBI released recordings of the suspect demanding two boys, and the driver refusing his requests


Associated Press

MIDLAND CITY, Alabama — A six-day bunker hostage standoff in the U.S. began with a school bus driver refusing to hand over children to a gunman who killed him moments later, according to newly released recordings.

After shooting the driver, Jimmy Lee Dykes snatched a 5-year-old boy off the bus and took him into an underground bunker in rural Alabama. FBI stormed the shelter in February, killed Dykes and freed the child.

In a recording aired Friday by ABC News, the 65-year-old Dykes is heard saying, "I need two boys 6 to 8 years old. Six to 8 years old. I mean it. Right now! Right now!"

"I can't do it," the 66-year-old bus driver, Charles Poland, responded. "Sorry, you're going to have to shoot me."

"How about I shoot a kid then," Dykes said. Poland refused again.

The FBI confirmed the existence of the recordings but declined to immediately release the material to The Associated Press.

Dykes apparently planned to have the child, Ethan Gilman, detonate an improvised explosive device inside the shelter if he was killed, FBI Special Agent Steve Richardson said in an interview with ABC.

FBI agents told ABC they decided to raid the bunker after it became apparent that Dykes was handling the explosive device more often than he had been at the beginning of the standoff.

Ethan, who turned 6 shortly after his release, was freed without any physical injuries.

Dykes' motive is still unclear, although he was due in court the day after the confrontation on a charge of firing a weapon at neighbors.

The recordings reveal that days of tense talks between federal authorities and Dykes included him ranting that his stand would cause "chaos" in society.

"People are going be standing up to this (expletive) dictatorial, incompetent, self-righteous, bunch of sorry bastards in government," Dykes said.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press

Associated PressCopyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  1. Tags
  2. Investigations
  3. Federal Law Enforcement

Recommended Evidence Collection

Join the discussion