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Authorities: School bus driver fatally shot

By Jeff Black and M. Alex Johnson, NBC News

Multiple local and county officials were on the scene of the shootng Tuesday, Jan. 29, near Midland City, Ala.

Updated at 11:38 p.m. ET: A man boarded a school bus Tuesday afternoon, fatally shot the bus driver and then grabbed a 6-year-old and fled the scene, authorities said, according to The Associated Press.

Authorities said the man took the child to an underground bunker behind a nearby church, according to the AP. Police were negotiating with the suspect who is with the child. WSFA 12 News reported that the child is “OK.”

The Dale County Sheriff in southeastern Alabama told WBMA-TV that the man demanded a child be let off the bus with him. When the driver refused, police said, the man shot the driver.

Multiple agencies, including a bomb unit, were on the scene along a rural highway near Midland City, in the area of Dothan and Ozark, the Dale County Sheriff’s Department said. It said that a man had been shot and that the suspect was not in custody.

Sheriff’s officials and Dothan police said they couldn’t immediately provide further details of the incident, including the condition of the victim.

School officials said all Dale County and Ozark city schools would be closed Wednesday.

The Eagle quoted a woman who said her daughter told her that a male neighbor got on the bus, shot the driver and left with the child.

Michael Creel, another neighbor of the suspected shooter, told the newspaper that his sister heard gunshots so he went outside. He saw children running away from the bus.

A little girl reportedly told Creel that the suspected shooter had come on the bus and demanded that two children ages of 6 to 8 ¬†come with him. The driver refused, and that’s when the man shot the bus driver and took off with a child, the Eagle reported.

The man was believed to be in some sort of bunker on the scene, the paper reported. The reports couldn’t be confirmed.

Law enforcement officials  closed roads in the area.

It wasn’t clear how many children had been on the bus, but Lisa Harden of the Dale County School District told NBC News that it was carrying children of all ages.

The other children were taken to a high school so their parents could pick them up, Harden said. The Eagle reported that at least seven children were seen being taken to nearby vehicles.


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