Rickey Waggoner, 49, is an RTA bus driver in Dayton, Ohio. Around 5:30 Monday morning his bus stopped running and he managed to pull over to the side of the road where he got out seeing if he could figure out what was wrong.
That is when three black teens approached him. At least one of the teens had a knife and another had a gun. Waggoner heard one of them say that they had to kill a polar bear in order to join the club. He wasn’t about to go down without a fight and started to wrestle with the teens. In the skirmish, Waggoner was shot once in the hip and twice in the chest. He says he thinks he managed to stab one of them in the leg with his pen. After being shot, Waggoner still managed to get their knife and gun away from them and used their own gun to shoot at them as they ran away.
Waggoner then called 9-1-1 and told the dispatcher:
“I had a book in my pocket. At first I thought it went through. It just feels like I’ve been hit with a sledgehammer in the chest. And I’ve been cut on the arm.”
After stabbing the one suspect in the leg with his pen, Waggoner told the dispatcher:
“They started to run. I shot at them with their gun. I got their gun and knife in the bus with me.”
Police say that the term ‘polar bear’ is frequently used by gang members to designate that someone is white. Referring to joining a club most likely meant that this was a gang initiation that was supposed to end with them killing a white person.
Waggoner was transported to the local hospital in Dayton in good condition for treatment of the gunshot to the hip and a cut on his arm. As for the two bullets he took in the chest, they hit his copy of The Message version of the New Testament that he only purchased a week early and was carrying in his pocket.
The crime may have been racially motivated which would classify it as a hate crime, but love prevailed though it all. Waggoner’s love of God’s Word and the account of Jesus Christ who gave His life that Waggoner and you might live eternally in the presence of our Creator God.