The Dothan Eagle reported that while law enforcement officials had not identified the gunman, a neighbor who had a run-in with him last month named him as Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65.
It was unclear whether the 6-year-old child taken from the bus was in the bunker with him, the Eagle said. Police were evacuating people from the vicinity and the FBI had been called in to assist, a neighbor said.
The incident near the southeastern Alabama community of Midland City began shortly before 4 p.m. EST when the gunman got onto a school bus. Michael Creel, who lives near the suspected shooter, said his sister heard gunshots and when he went outside he saw children running from the bus.
Creel said one girl told him the shooter boarded the bus and ordered two children between the ages of 6 and 8 to come with him. Creel said the girl told him when the bus driver objected, the gunman shot him and fled with one child.
Dykes was scheduled to be in court Wednesday for a bench trial on a menacing charge stemming from a Dec. 10 incident with another neighbor, James Edward Davis Jr., the newspaper said.
Davis said Dykes pulled a gun on him and his daughter after Dykes believed Davis had driven in Dykes' yard. Davis said he reported Dykes to the Dale County Sheriff's Department and Dykes was arrested Dec. 22.
Davis said Dykes dug a hole and built the bunker behind the residence where he has lived for about a year.
"It's the craziest thing. He will be outside in his yard digging dirt at 2:30 in the morning," Davis told the Eagle.