Slain Alabama bus driver was raised in Idaho

Law enforcement personnel load provisions into a bus during the third day of a hostage crisis involving a 5-year-old boy, in Midland City, Ala, Thursday, Jan 31, 2013. A standoff in rural Alabama went into a second full day Thursday as police surrounded an underground bunker where a retired truck driver was holding a 5-year-old hostage he grabbed off a school bus after shooting the driver dead. The bus driver, Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was hailed by locals as a hero who gave his life to protect the 21 students aboard the bus. (AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The Alabama school bus driver who was shot to death while trying to shield youngsters was raised in the forests and lakes of northern Idaho, served in the Army and worked as an auto mechanic.

Charles Albert Poland Jr. was hailed as a hero who gave his life to protect the pupils on his bus.

Authorities say a gunman boarded a school bus Tuesday filled with children and demanded two boys. When Poland tried to block his way, the gunman shot him and took a 5-year-old boy.

Poland's sister says she wasn't surprised that her brother tried to block the gunman.

Poland was born in Colorado but raised in the Idaho Panhandle towns of St. Maries and Athol.

The standoff between police and the gunman is in its fourth day.