Students and family leave the scene of the school bus shooting in Midland City, Ala., Jan. 29, 2013.
A standoff that started when a man boarded a school bus full of
children near his home in a rural Alabama neighborhood, killed the
driver and took one 5-year-old boy hostage entered its third day
The suspect and the child hostage have not been identified by police.
who live along the rutted red clay road said the suspect is a retired
truck driver with a reputation, CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez
reports. They said he allegedly beat a dog to death and threatened to
shoot kids who trespass on his property. He was reportedly due in court
this week on a weapons charge.
Neighbor Ronda Wilbur
described the suspect to CBS News as "very anti-social, very
anti-government" and that he "hates everybody."
granddaughter who just turned 7, when I have her visiting me this next
weekend, I won't have to worry about 'mean man,'" Wilbur told CBS News.
"One way or another he's not gonna be there. He will either be locked
up, or he'll be dead."
Wilbur told The Associated Press
that the suspect beat her 120-pound dog with a lead pipe for coming onto
his side of the dirt road. The dog died a week later.
said his only regret was he didn't beat him to death all the way,"
Wilbur told the AP. "If a man can kill a dog, and beat it with a lead
pipe and brag about it, it's nothing until it's going to be people."
neighborhood near Midland City, population 2,300, remained under siege
after the Tuesday shooting, with the suspect and child holed up in a
bunker-type shelter on the man's property that was equipped with
electricity, food and TV.
On Thursday, dozens of police
cars and rental cars that had brought FBI agents to the site were parked
about the state highway at the clay road's entrance. A large law
enforcement truck also pulled up before dawn to a staging area for law
enforcement agents that was lit by bright lights overnight.
At least one ambulance was parked nearby and numerous television news satellite trucks also lined up across the rural highway.
on the road had been evacuated earlier after authorities found what
they believed to be a bomb on the property. SWAT teams earlier had taken
up positions around the gunman's property and police negotiators tried
to win the kindergartener's safe release.
remained unchanged for hours as negotiators continued talking to the
suspect, Alabama State Trooper Charles Dysart told a news conference
late Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Sheriff Wally Olson said that
authorities had "no reason to believe that the child has been harmed."
TV station WDHN obtained a police dispatch recording of the moment
officers first arrived at the site. On it, the officers are heard saying
that they were trying to communicate with the suspect through a PVC
pipe leading into the shelter.
Authorities gave no
details of the standoff, and it was unclear if the suspect made any
demands from the bunker, which resembled a tornado shelter.
Rep. Steve Clouse, who met with authorities and visited the boy's
family, said the bunker had food and electricity, and the youngster was
At one point, authorities lowered medicine into the bunker for the boy after his captor agreed to it, Clouse said.
The standoff began after school Tuesday afternoon. Olson said the man
shot the bus driver several times when he refused to hand over the
child. The gunman then took the boy away.
"As far as we
know there is no relation at all. He just wanted a child for a hostage
situation," said Michael Senn, a pastor who helped comfort other
traumatized children after the attack.
The bus driver,
Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave
his life to protect the 21 students aboard the bus. Authorities say most
of the students scrambled to the back of the bus when the gunman
boarded and said he wanted two boys 6 to 8 years old.
when the gunman went down the aisle, authorities said, Poland put his
arm out to grab a pole near the front steps of the vehicle, trying to
block the suspect. That's when authorities say the driver was shot four
times before the gunman grabbed the child at random and fled.
and Patricia Smith, who live across the street from the suspect and
whose two children were on the bus, said their youngsters had a run-in
with him about 10 months ago.
"My bulldogs got loose and
went over there," Patricia Smith said. "The children went to get them.
He threatened to shoot them if they came back."
"He's very paranoid," her husband said. "He goes around in his yard at night with a flashlight and shotgun."
suspect had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to face a
charge of menacing some neighbors as they drove by his house weeks ago.
Claudia Davis said he yelled and fired shots at her, her son and her
baby grandson over damage the suspect claimed their pickup truck did to a
makeshift speed bump in the dirt road. No one was hurt.
this happened, I would see him at several places and he would just
stare a hole through me," Davis said. "On Monday I saw him at a
laundromat and he seen me when I was getting in my truck, and he just
stared and stared and stared at me."