DAYTON, Ohio, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A Dayton, Ohio, bus driver survived a close-range shooting Monday when a pocket version of the Bible he was carrying intercepted two bullets, police said.
RTA driver Rickey Wagoner, 49, of Trotwood was shot twice in the chest and once in the right leg by one of three men who assaulted him while he was checking a mechanical problem with his bus about 5:20 a.m., the Dayton Daily News reported.
Wagoner's son Rickey Jr. posted on Facebook, "Dad is doing good now and my family and I are just lucky he is still alive."
Dayton police Sgt. Michael Pauley credited what was later described as a modern translation of the Bible called "The Message" with preventing the shooting from being fatal.
"The two bullets were stopped by the New Testament book in his [shirt] pocket," Pauley said. "There was obviously some kind of intervention involved in this incident, because he probably should not be here."
While investigators weren't ready to call the shooting gang-related, Wagoner told police one of the three young men who accosted him told another to kill him "if you want to be all the way in the club."
Wagoner told an emergency dispatcher he had been shot in the leg and "my chest feels like I've been hit with a sledgehammer."
Wagoner later told police in his statement after the first two shots to his chest he wrestled the gun from the assailant but it fired again, hitting him in the leg. Wagoner said another of the men stabbed him in the left arm with a knife, but he pulled out a pen from his pocket and stabbed that man in the leg with it. They ran away at that point and Wagoner said he used the gun they left behind to shoot at them.
"Amazingly, his injuries are not life threatening," Pauley said. "He basically said he fought for his life."