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School bus driver shot, child seized

A gunman shot a school bus driver in Alabama and took one of the 6-year-old passengers, then barricaded himself in a bunker, say news reports.

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A school bus waits for children. In Alabama, a school bus driver was shot and a child taken hostage, according to news reports.

John T. Greilick / The Detroit News / AP / File

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A gunman boarded an Alabama school bus and shot the driver several times on Tuesday, then fled with a 6-year-old child passenger and holed up in an underground bunker, Alabama media reported.

Officials at the Dale County Sheriff's Department could not be immediately reached for comment on the incident in Midland City, but they put out a brief statement saying a command post had been set up near the site where the suspected shooter was barricaded.

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The Dothan Eagle newspaper said the gunman was in a bunker near his home hours after the shooting, but that it was not clear if the child taken from the bus was also in the bunker.

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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. It gave no further details.

(Reporting by Kaija Wilkinson; Writing by Tom Brown; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Mohammad Zargham)