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Religious Book "The Message" Deflects Bullets from Bus Driver's Chest, Saves His Life

A Regional Transit Authority bus driver who was attacked by a group of teenagers has a book to thank for his survival.

Rickey Wagoner had stopped on Lakeview Avenue to work on an equipment problem around 5:30 a.m.

A group of teens approached the man and shot him twice in the chest.

In an unlikely and highly fortunate coincidence, the driver had a copy of a religious book called “The Message” in a front shirt pocket.

The book, which is a modern translation of the Bible, stopped or deflected both bullets, thereby saving his life.

Wagoner managed to wrestle the gun away from the shooter, but as they were fighting for control of the weapon, another round fired into his leg.

Another suspect then stabbed Wagoner in the left arm with a knife.

The victim then pulled an aluminum pen from his pocket, with which he “stabbed one in the leg.” Wagoner said that the assaulter “hollered” and all three ran away.

The Dayton Police Department said it received a call about the shooting at 5:20 a.m. “I’ve been hit in the leg,” Wagoner told the emergency dispatcher. “My chest feels like I’ve been hit with a sledgehammer.”

“There was obviously some kind of intervention involved in this incident because he probably should not be here,” said Sgt. Michael Pauley of the Dayton Police Department.

The 49-year-old bus driver was reported to be heavily sedated after the attack, although in good condition. Police have said that he is expected to recover.

Wagoner has described the attackers as young black males in their late teens. They fled the scene in a dark-colored Ford.

Police have also said that the shooting may have been part of some sort of gang initiation; Wagoner told investigators that he heard one of the suspects tell another to kill him “if you want to be all the way in the club.”

Sgt. Richard Blommel, however, said that “it’s way too early in the investigation to make conections to gang violence.” It does not appear that the shooting was an attempted robbery.

No arrests have been made at this time.


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