The 5-year-old boy rescued from a 6-day hostage standoff with a paranoid survivalist who assaulted a school bus is in good spirits and physically unharmed after the ordeal, according to authorities.
Hostage-taker Jimmy Lee Dykes was killed in the raid, which an FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) conducted Monday afternoon using some type of flashbang explosive. The hostage has been identified only as Ethan.
"I've been to the hospital," FBI Special Agent Steve Richardson told the press Monday night. "I visited with Ethan. He is doing fine. He's laughing, joking, playing, eating, the things that you would expect a normal 5- to 6-year-old young man to do. He's very brave, he's very lucky, and the success story is that he's out safe and doing great."
Authorities managed to insert a camera into the bunker to monitor Dykes' movements. They additionally constructed a mock bunker near the site to run simulations of different scenarios that might arise during a possible rescue.
"Within the past 24 hours, negotiations deteriorated and Mr. Dykes was observed holding a gun," Richardson said. "At this point, the FBI agents, fearing the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child."
President Obama called FBI Director Robert Mueller to congratulate him on a job well done.
"The president praised the exceptional coordination between state, local, and federal partners, and thanked all the law enforcement officials involved during the nearly week-long ordeal for their roles in the successful rescue of the child," read a statement from the White House.
State Sen. Harri Anne Smith said the child's parents asked authorities not to harm Dykes.
"She put her hand on the officer's heart and said, 'Sir, don't hurt him. He's sick,'" Smith told reporters.