Standoff continues, bus driver laid to rest

Posted on: 1:40 pm, February 4, 2013, by

standoff

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. (CNN)—As a tense standoff between police and a man holding a 5-year-old boy stretches into its sixth day, family and friends said goodbye to a school bus driver who is being hailed as a hero.

Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was killed when he tried to stop a gunman from taking children off of his school bus.

According to witnesses, Poland was taking children home when the suspect boarded the bus.

The gunman, later identified as 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes, demanded that Poland hand over two children. He refused and blocked the aisle so at least 21 children could escape out of the back door.

Poland was shot four times before Dykes grabbed the 5-year-old victim and barricaded himself in a nearby bunker.

At his memorial service, Poland was remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather to his family.

Students also paid respect to the bus driver who was said to bring them ice water on hot days.

Authorities are turning their attention to the 5-year-old, who is said to have Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit disorder.

Throughout the standoff, police have been able to deliver food, medicine and toys for the boy.

At this time, police say there is no connection between the suspect and the child.