We're a full day into the ongoing Alabama hostage situation — the one where a man killed a bus driver and kidnapped a six-year-old all the way to an underground bunker — and the child is safe as far as authorities know, but more details have trickled out about the unstable man behind the disturbing crime, including accounts that he was a "time bomb" with "survivalist" anti-American views.
Here's what we knew as of this morning: 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes is a Vietnam war veteran whose neighbours were wary of his odd behavior. Two of Dykes' neighbors told The Dothan Eagle that he was always slightly unhinged. Dykes was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning to face charges of "menacing." Neighbor James Edward Davis Jr. alleges that Dykes approached him and his daughter with a gun on December 10, and accused Davis of driving on his lawn. But NBC reports there's no indication the charge had anything to do with the hostage situation.
Davis also told the Eagle that Dykes was fond of shovelling. "It's the craziest thing. He will be outside in his yard digging dirt at 2:30 in the morning," Davis said. Another neighbor, Michael Creel, said Dykes "thinks the government’s out to get him," and that "he's not right in the head."
Another neighbor, Rhonda Wilbur, now tells WSFA 12 News Dykes was something of a "time bomb," and a "concern" to other neighbors. "He killed one of my dogs and I had animal cruelty people out then, and he has been a source of interest for a long time, because he has been like a time bomb waiting to go off," she said.
Tim Byrd, one of the chief investigators at the Dale County Sheriff's Office, told the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch that Dykes had "anti-America" views. "His friends and his neighbors stated that he did not trust the government, that he was a Vietnam vet, and that he had PTSD," Tim Byrd told the SPLC. "He was standoffish, didn’t socialize or have any contact with anybody."
Authorities have still not confirmed the hostage situation since receiving an emergency call about a shooting on Tuesday after school let out in Dale County, Alabama.