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Next to the container is the underground bunker where authorities say Mr. Dykes is holed up with the 5-year-old. Neighbors say the bunker has a pipe so Mr. Dykes could hear people coming near his driveway. Authorities have been using the ventilation pipe to communicate with him.

The younger Mr. Creel, who said he helped Mr. Dykes with supplies to build the bunker and has been in it twice, said Mr. Dykes wanted protection from hurricanes.

“He said he lived in Florida and had hurricanes hit. He wanted someplace he could go down in and be safe,” Mr. Creel said. Authorities say the bunker is about 6 feet by 8 feet, and the only entrance is a trap door at the top.

Such bunkers are not uncommon in rural Alabama because of the threat of tornadoes.

Greg Creel was a friend of Mr. Dykes‘, but he said he would not comment for The Associated Press.

“I will only talk to the police and the FBI,” he said.

Michael Creel said Mr. Dykes kept to himself and listened to a lot of conservative talk radio.

“He was very into what’s going on with the nation and the politics and all the laws being made. The things he didn’t agree with, he would ventilate,” he said.

Police Chief James Arrington in the neighboring town of Pinckard put it differently.

“He’s against the government, starting with Obama on down,” he said.

Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, a group that tracks hate crimes, said Mr. Dykes was not on the group’s radar.

Although the fatal shootings in December at a school in Newtown, Conn., are still on everyone’s mind, Mr. Dees said he doesn’t think Mr. Dykes was trying to be a copycat.

“Probably not. He had a whole bus load full of kids, and he could have walked up there and shot the whole crowd of them,” he said.

“I think he’s just a really angry and bitter guy with some anger management issues,” Mr. Dees said. “He is just against everything — the government and his neighbors.”