DAYTON, Ohio — The story of a biblical miracle that saved a man’s life from blazing bullets has turned out to be a myth, police in Ohio said.
The account by a public transit bus driver who said a devotional Bible carried in his chest pocket stopped two shots fired at his heart isn’t true, said Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl on Wednesday.
“Based on the evidence, this crime did not occur as reported,” he told WDTN.
The incident took place in February.
On Wednesday, the driver, Rickey Wagoner, stuck by his narrative.
“I didn’t make this up in any way, shape or form,” Wagoner said. “And because things happen that they can’t explain, they think that I am lying. They’re not offering any proof that I am lying.”
Wagoner said that three young men assailed him possibly as part of a gang initiation in February. At the time, he said he heard one of them tell another to “kill the polar bear” in order to be “all the way in the club.” (Wagoner is white. The attackers, he said, were black.)
Police Chief Biehl cast a wrench into that part of the story on Wednesday, doubting the attack even happened.
“We do not have three armed male offenders stalking members of our community and assaulting them without provocation,” he said.
Wagoner said he sprang into action, pulling an aluminum pen from his pocket and stabbing one of the teenage boys in the leg. The suspects dropped the gun and fled. Wagoner said he picked it up and fired after them.
Whatever transpired, he came away from it with a bullet wound to the leg and a slashed arm, which were treated at a local hospital.
Police didn’t say in February what condition the Bible was in, but they believed Wagoner’s miracle story back then. They said that without some kind of intervention, he wouldn’t have survived.
But after months of examining DNA evidence and doing ballistics tests on the gun, police say they have demystified the story.
Biehl said that Wagoner may lose his job with the public transit authority, which also accuses him of making the story up.