A six-year-old Alabama boy is being held hostage Wednesday morning after an unidentified man boarded a crowded school bus on Tuesday, fatally shot the driver four times and took the child to an underground bunker. Authorities are negotiating with the hostage-taker to free the child.
The Tuesday afternoon shooting happened near a church in Midland City, 190 miles south of Birmingham near the border with the Florida panhandle, when the gunman boarded the bus carrying numerous school children. The driver later succumbed to his injuries.
The man reportedly asked all the children, except the boy, to get off the bus. Authorities say the man shot at the driver as he was trying thwart the attack. The attacker then carried the boy to a nearby underground bunker, CNN reported.
The authorities were desperately trying to free the child and the negotiations were going on late in the night. The police were seen evacuating nearby houses in the neighborhood where the hostage situation is taking place.
"We will continue to work diligently through the night in an effort to bring closure to this incident as quickly as possible," the Dale County Sheriff's Department told CNN late Tuesday night local time. The authorities had not released the details of the hostage but the sheriff’s office confirmed the presence of a child at the scene.
Meanwhile, CBS News reported that all the schools in the area would remain closed Wednesday.