Community Prays for Child's Safe Return in Midland City

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By Jessica Gertler

Midland City residents held a prayer vigil tonight for the safe return of a six-year-old child involved in a hostage standoff.

A community full of concern. A six-year-old child is being held hostage for more than 24 hours after authorities say a man stormed onto a school bus Tuesday afternoon, shot and killed the bus driver, and took the child to a underground bunker near his home off Highway 231.

Prayer vigils are taking place throughout the community. Dozens came out to Midland City Baptist Wednesday night to pray for the child's safety.

"I can't imagine what the parents are going though. It really hit me and hit hard," says one Midland City Baptist Church member.

Authorities have been negotiating with the shooter, who neighbors are identifying as 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes. They say they have no reason to believe the child has been harmed.

But neighbors say given that Dykes has a history of threatening people, they are worried the situation may not have a happy ending.

But law enforcement are not giving up, and the community will continue to stand behind them.

Law enforcement are not releasing the child's name. All we know is that he is a six-year-old kindergartner in the Dale County School System.

Dale County School officials are asking people in the community to wear blue to honor the bus driver who was killed.