Young Texas Church Shooting Victim Finally Returns Home after Months in Hospital


Ryland Ward rode in the firetruck from University Medical Center in San Antonio 30 miles (48 kilometers) to his home in Sutherland Springs, passing by the scene of the November 5 shooting that left more than two dozen worshippers at the First Baptist Church dead and about 20 others wounded.

Ward is one of the youngest survivors of the worst church shooting in US history in which a deranged gunman killed 26 members of the First Baptist Church congregation.

Chris Ward's wife and Ryland's stepmother, Joann Lookingbill Ward, was among the dead, as well as Joann Lookingbill Ward's daughters, Brooke Bryanne Ward, 5, and Emily Garcia, 7.

The community can gather on the highway's shoulders in the grassy areas to welcome Ryland home but have been asked to give the Ward family privacy once law enforcement officials arrive at Sutherland Springs.

Duncan says the boy had "glassy eyes" and "stared up" at him while he rushed him to the ambulance. "He walked for me for the first time. The whole time", Duncan said.

Ward reportedly has 15 percent use of his left hip and drags his left leg as he tries to walk. I looked down and a little hand was coming from under somebody. He's kept me going this whole time.

According to Duncan, Ward was "heavily sedated" throughout most of his time at the hospital and went through "surgery after surgery".

Ryland's grandmother Sandy Ward added, "It's just a miracle he survived and is doing as well as he is".

Ryland has been undergoing multiple surgeries over the past few months, but is finally in a condition to return home. "He just - he couldn't believe how many people were there with him".

"Just happy the Lord brought him home and he's doing good", one emotional Sutherland Springs resident told ABC San Antonio affiliate KSAT.