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Dayton police doubt bus driver's account of shooting

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, June 19, 2014, 6:39 p.m.

DAYTON — A white bus driver's story that a religious book in his shirt pocket blocked bullets as he was attacked by three black men isn't supported by evidence and testing, Dayton police said as they closed the case, which had been investigated as a possible hate crime.

Rickey Wagoner, 49, told police he was outside his city bus on Feb. 24 when men assaulted him. He said that two bullets hit the inch-thick book containing Bible verses and that one hit his leg and that he was stabbed in the arm, according to a police report. The report said Wagoner told police he grabbed the gun and shot at the fleeing men.

Wagoner had told police that the assailants were black and that he thought the attack might have been a gang initiation.

But his account wasn't found to be factual, Police Chief Richard Biehl said.

“This assault, as reported, is not true, not accurate,” Biehl said. Police did not say Wagoner made up the story and didn't explain why he would have made the report. Biehl said it appeared Wagoner owed back taxes.

Police did extensive testing, including simulating the shots fired into the book. Biehl said it wasn't credible to believe that bullets didn't pass through the book into Wagoner.

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