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Man's Bullet-Blocking Bible Book Story a Tall Tale: Cops

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 Wednesday as they closed the case, which had been investigated as a possible hate crime.

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Rickey Wagoner, 49, told police he was outside his city bus 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 also said Wagoner told police he grabbed the gun and shot at the fleeing men.

Image: Police tape is wrapped around a pole near the shooting scene where an RTA bus driver was attacked and shot in Dayton, Ohio
Police tape is wrapped around a pole near the shooting scene where an RTA bus driver was alleged to have been attacked and shot Monday morning. But police said Wednesday the assault "as reported, is not true." Darrin Pope / The Daily News via AP

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 at a news conference.

"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 did say it appeared Wagoner owed on back taxes.

A recording at a phone listing for Wagoner said the voice mail could not accept more messages.

No criminal charges have been filed. But the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority said Wednesday that it has charged Wagoner with violating its employee standards.

Image: Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl speaks during a news conference on Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio. Police found the alleged victim's story of having two bullets deflected by a religious book doesn't match up to the facts. Marshall Gorby / The Daily News via AP

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.

Biehl also said that only Wagoner's DNA was found at the scene and that his injuries weren't consistent with defensive wounds.