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21 February 2024

Man kills bus driver, kidnaps child in Alabama


A gunman boarded a school bus in the southern US state of Alabama, shot and killed the driver and kidnapped a young boy, police said on Wednesday.

The area around where the hostage-taking occurred Tuesday has been evacuated, said Sergeant Rachel David, a spokeswoman for the local police in the town of Dothan.

The incident is yet another scare in a country on edge over gun violence and children, since the December massacre of 20 small kids and six teachers at an elementary school in Connecticut.

The man boarded the bus on Tuesday afternoon, shot the bus driver and took one of the children to an underground shelter.

Local media said police were communicating with him through a PVC pipe but David did not confirm this. She did not give the age of the boy but news reports said he was 6.

"Efforts to bring this ongoing incident to a close have continued through the night," a statement from the Dale County Sheriff's office said.

David said the bus driver died and that he has been identified as 66 year old Albert Poland. No arrests have been made.

Classes in schools in surrounding Dale and Ozark counties were cancelled Wednesday because of the hostage crisis.