Alabama Standoff Over; Boy Safe, Suspect Dead

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MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (AP) - Some details haven't been released, but officials say the gunman who had been holding a 5-year-old boy for a week in an underground bunker in rural Alabama is dead and the boy has been freed.

An FBI spokesman says officers stormed the bunker, in Midland City, after negotiations had deteriorated with 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes and officers believed the boy was in imminent danger. Dykes, who neighbors described as an isolated loner, was seen with a gun.

It's not clear how he died. Officials held a brief news conference and didn't provide many details.

The rescued boy was taken to a nearby hospital. Officials have said previously that he has Asperger's syndrome.

Neighbors described Dykes, a retired truck driver, as a man who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property, and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a firearm. He returned to Alabama about two years ago, moving onto the rural tract about 100 yards from his nearest neighbors.

Government records show the Vietnam veteran had some scrapes with the law in Florida, including a 1995 arrest for improper exhibition of a weapon. The misdemeanor was dismissed. He also was arrested for marijuana possession in 2000.