A bus driver in Trotwood, Ohio, is recovering in hospital after remarkably surviving being shot at point blank range in an unprovoked random attack seemingly linked to a gang initiation ceremony.
Rickey Wagoner, 49, was assaulted by three men while he stood beside his bus in the early hours of Monday morning.
Three shots were fired at Wagoner – one struck him in the right leg and two were fired at his chest
The two bullets aimed at his chest were stopped by a New Testament Bible that he kept in his chest pocket, reports the Dayton Daily News.
‘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
A police report indicates the rounds were nestled inside The Message, a version of the New testament written in contemporary language, which Wagoner kept in the left breast pocket of his shirt.
Police believe the shooting may have been a gang initiation after Wagoner told investigators that one of the suspects said ‘we need to shot a polar bear to get in a club.’
Polar bear hunting is gang slang for a random attack on an unsuspecting victim.
Wagoner described the attackers as young black males, likely in their late teens. He said they fled in a dark-colored 1990s model Ford.
According to Wagoner’s police statement, the suspects approached him as he was trying to repair a malfunction with his bus.
Two shots were fired at Wagoner’s chest, then he wrestled the gun from the shooter but another round fired into his leg during their struggle.
As they fought, another suspect stabbed Wagoner in the left arm with a knife. Wagoner then pulled an aluminum pen from his pocket and struck out.
‘I stabbed one in the leg with my pen,’ Wagoner told dispatchers. ‘He hollered and that’s when they all ran.’
Wagoner told officers he fired at the suspects as they fled. No arrests have been made.
Wagoner’s son Rickey Wagoner Jr. wrote on Facebook on Monday afternoon, ‘Dad is doing good now and my family and I are just lucky he is still alive.’