DAYTON – Authorities said Wednesday that they are investigating whether the shooting of a bus driver who said a book of Bible verses in his pocket helped stop two bullets could have been a hate crime.
Bus driver Rickey Wagoner, who is white, told Dayton police he was outside his bus early Monday when three black men shot at him, with two bullets hitting the book in his shirt pocket and one hitting his leg. He said he was also stabbed in the arm.
Wagoner, 49, was released from the hospital Tuesday.
Police Chief Richard Biehl said Wednesday he became concerned about the possibility of a hate crime – a federal civil rights violation – after reading the initial police report and that he forwarded the report to the FBI’s Dayton office.
A driver for the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority, Wagoner said he stopped the bus to check a mechanical problem around 5 a.m. Monday when the men approached him.
Wagoner told police he fought back and grabbed the gun and that the men ran away. Wagoner told police he fired at them before driving the bus to safety and calling for help.