Family Handout

6-year-old Texas church shooting survivor home from hospital

Fri 12 Jan 2018
By Tola Mbakwe

A little boy who survived the Texas church massacre has returned home.

Then five-year-old Ryland Ward was part of a Sunday morning service at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in which a gunman stormed in and killed 26 people, including an unborn child.

Ryland, who was shot several times in November, received a special homecoming on Thursday when he rode around the rural town in fire truck.


Volunteer firefighter Rusty Duncan was a first responder that day and told ABC News he was the one who found Ryland and pulled him to safety.

Duncan said when he responded to the scene, he went through the aisles and "started checking for people's pulses".

He added: "That's where Ryland's hand reached out from under his stepmom and grabbed my pant leg. I rolled her over and grabbed him and started running outside with him."

Duncan said Ryland's step-mother died in the attack. 

Ryland's grandmother, Sandy Ward, told ABC News it was a "miracle" that Ryland survived and he is still recovering. She said he drags his left foot when he tries to walk, and also has limited use of his hip.


Duncan paid numerous visits to the hospital to see Ryland and told ABC News: "This little boy has the best fighting spirit I've ever seen out of anybody in my entire life.

"He's kept me going this whole time. Even when I was giving up ... just thinking about him and being around him makes me smile."

According to the church's Facebook page, Ryland is the final survivor to be released from hospital.

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