Wednesday, January 30, 2013
One dead after Alabama school bus shooting, child seized
(Reuters) - Officials in Alabama said one person was killed on Tuesday after local media reported that a gunman boarded a school bus and shot the driver several times, then fled with a 6-year-old child passenger and holed up in an underground bunker.
The Dale County Sheriff's Department said in a statement there had been one fatality as a result of the incident in Midland City and that the area had been evacuated after law enforcement arrived at the scene.
The department said it was releasing only limited details, so it was not immediately clear whether the person who was killed was the bus driver.
It confirmed that a child was at the scene. Earlier, the department had said a command post had been set up near the site where the suspected shooter was barricaded.
The Dothan Eagle newspaper said the gunman was in a bunker near his home hours after the shooting.
The shooting comes as the nation is on edge about gun violence, especially in schools, after a gunman shot dead 20 students and six staff members at a Connecticut elementary school last month, stoking a national debate on gun control.
The sheriff's department said multiple agencies were assisting with the incident and local area schools would be closed on Wednesday.
Alabama media reported that the incident happened at approximately 4 p.m. local time when the suspect demanded the driver let a student off the bus. When the driver refused, the suspect boarded the bus, then shot the driver before taking the child and fleeing the scene.
Law enforcement officials are negotiating with the suspect, according to media reports.
(Reporting by Kaija Wilkinson; Writing by Tom Brown; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Mohammad Zargham)