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Ohio driver’s bible booklet stops bullet

CINCINNATI — A biblical booklet in a shirt pocket apparently helped a bus driver survive a shooting, and authorities were looking Tuesday for three suspects, police say.

The driver for the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority told Dayton police he was standing outside the bus early Monday morning when the men shot at him three times, with one bullet hitting his leg. He also was stabbed in the arm.

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Rickey Wagoner, 49, of Trotwood, told police he fought back, grabbed the gun, and the men ran away. Wagoner told police he fired at them before driving the bus to a safe location and calling for help.

‘‘I stabbed one in the leg, I think, with my pen,’’ he said on the 911 call to police in Dayton, about 60 miles north of Cincinnati.

Police said Tuesday that no one was on the bus.

Wagoner said in the 911 call that he felt two shots to his chest, but he did not think the bullets got through the booklet in his shirt pocket. Police said in their report that two small-caliber bullets hit the booklet called ‘‘The Message,’’ which has Bible verses in contemporary language, and were found lodged inside the book.

‘‘It just feels like I’ve been hit with a sledgehammer,’’ Wagoner said. ‘‘I’ve got a book in my pocket, and I don’t think they made it through this book.’’

Wagoner told police he just started carrying the book about a week ago.

Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton confirmed Tuesday that Wagoner remained in the hospital, but the hospital would provide no other information. The authority said in a statement that Wagoner was recovering and doing well.

The initial police report said Wagoner stopped his bus to check a possible mechanical problem.

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