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Bus driver shooting probed as possible hate crime

Ohio Bus Driver Credits Bible for Blocking Bullets and Saving His Life

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Authorities said Wednesday that they are investigating whether the shooting of a bus driver who said a book of Bible verses in his pocket helped stop two bullets could have been a hate crime.

Bus driver Rickey Wagoner, who is white, told Dayton police that he was outside his bus early Monday when three black men shot at him, with two bullets hitting the book in his shirt pocket and one hitting his leg. He said he was also stabbed in the arm.

Wagoner, 49, was released from the hospital Tuesday.

Police Chief Richard Biehl said Wednesday that he became concerned about the possibility of a hate crime after reading the initial police report and that he forwarded the report to the FBI's Dayton office.

"They are working with us," he said.

FBI spokesman Rick Smith said agents will help determine whether the shooting was a hate crime, a federal civil rights violation.

Biehl said Wednesday that police recovered a .25-caliber semi-automatic pistol and a knife along with four spent rounds and three live rounds from the gun. He said the spent rounds match the number of shots heard on an audio recording from the bus.

"We are looking to get the audio and video of the bus recording enhanced," he said.

Biehl said there were no witnesses and no video of the shooting.

Police are analyzing evidence that includes the knife, shell casings, bullets and the gun.

A driver for the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority, Wagoner said he stopped the bus to check a mechanical problem around 5 a.m. Monday when the men approached him. Wagoner told police he fought back and grabbed the gun and that the men ran away. Wagoner told police he fired at them before driving the bus to safety and calling for help.

Wagoner said in his 911 call that he felt two shots to his chest.

"It just feels like I've been hit with a sledgehammer," Wagoner said on the 911 call.

Police said two small-caliber bullets hit the booklet called "The Message," which has Bible verses in contemporary language, and were found lodged inside the book.

Police on Wednesday displayed a photo of the book that showed where two bullets entered through its cover. When asked about the book's thickness, police used as an example a book that appeared to be about an inch thick.

Wagoner told police he just started carrying the book about a week earlier.

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Mike February 27 2014 at 11:11 AM

Since when is it a crime to be a white Bus driver?

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3 replies
ritag99 February 27 2014 at 9:01 AM

This poor man, but isn't it wonderful that a bible book saved his life. It really is a miracle. I hope they get the guys who tried to kill him and that they are punished for attempted murder.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
miracles February 27 2014 at 1:10 PM

Hate crimes exist in all races and should be eliminated regardless.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
DeBergerac February 27 2014 at 1:22 PM

DOES ANYONE THINK THE HEAD OF THE D.O.J. CARES ABOUT BLACK ON WHITE CRIME???

Flag Reply +8 rate up
lael February 27 2014 at 1:24 PM

HSENPFEFFER SOUNDS LIKE ONE OF THE MEN WHO SHOT HIM!! IN ANY CASE, HERE'S PROOF WHITES AREN'T THE ONLY RACISTS IN AMERICA!! THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR IS UNACCEPTABLE BY ANYONE!!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
rhill65 February 27 2014 at 8:37 AM

Cowards, all of them!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
lael February 27 2014 at 1:26 PM

AND, HSENPFEFFER....YOUR VIEWS CAST A POOR LIGHT ONTO THE DEMOCRATS...AND I'M SURE THEY ARE BETTER THAN THAT!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Michael & Linda February 27 2014 at 1:39 PM

Hate crime trial with a white person the victim? It will never be allowed to happen. We all have to remember that a 'person of color' cannot be racist....therfore cannot commit a 'hate ctime...! NOT!!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
1 reply
cbofgdale Michael & Linda February 28 2014 at 10:10 AM

Many of them hate all other races. Black ghetto thugs killed two Chinese USC college students with a whole good life in front of them just because they were there. Unfortunately, USC is in a ghetto, and some of the students and their parents may not realize this until they get there. I guess these thugs figured the Chinese kids would be "taken jobs" like the L.A. ghetto is full of kids who want to go to USC and be scientists and computer geeks. And have the grades to get in.

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Steve's Stuff February 27 2014 at 1:43 PM

finally, a WHITE PERSON, can yell discrimination!!!!!!!!! But I guarantee if it goes to court, he won't win though. To bad too. At least he is still alive

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1 reply
weeeally Steve's Stuff February 27 2014 at 2:04 PM

When he get to court, he's the one who will be charged with discrimination because he made this entire scenario up. I mean afterall, he must be a very strong person to take both a gun and knife from three guys while being shot in the leg and stabbed in the arm.

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1 reply
hawklrgc weeeally February 27 2014 at 2:16 PM

Most thugs and gangsta wannabees hit and run.. Once he got the gun, they ran for their life. Most of them are cowards in a fair fight.

Flag +2 rate up
vtmilitia February 27 2014 at 1:52 PM

The 25 acp cartridge is a very low powered round. He's lucky the shots struck his bible verses and even luckier the idiots who shot him didn't have something along the lines of a 9mm or 45 acp.

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