Police are still negotiating with the man who fatally shot a bus driver and abducted a child who he is holding in a bunker. Now authorities have released a photo of Jimmy Lee Dykes, the 65-year-old truck driver who is the suspect.
Former hostage negotiators said authorities must be cautious and patient as long as they are confident that the boy is unharmed. Ex-FBI hostage negotiator Clint Van Zandt advised against any drastic measures such as cutting the electricity or putting sleep gas inside the bunker because it could agitate Dykes.
The negotiator should try to ease Dykes’ anxieties over what will happen when the standoff ends, and refer to both the boy and Dykes by their first names, he said.
“I want to give him a reason to come out,” Van Zandt said, “and my reason is, ‘You didn’t mean that to happen. It was unintentional. It could have happened to anyone. It was an accident. People have accidents, Jimmy Lee. It’s not that big a thing. You and I can work that out.’”
Police seemed to be following that pattern. At a brief news conference to release a photo of Dykes, they brushed off any questions about possible charges.
“It’s way too early for that,” said Kevin Cook, a spokesman for the Alabama state troopers.