Boy injured in Texas church shooting gets ride on a firetruck home from hospital

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — Dozens of people gathered on a South Texas highway for Ryland Ward’s homecoming. Ward isn’t just any 6-year-old, and it wasn’t just any trip home.

For the last two months, Ward has been living in a hospital.

Last November, a gunman attacked his church in Sutherland Springs. Twenty-six people were killed that morning.

Ward was shot five times. His stepmother, Joanne, died shielding the boy. His two sisters, Brooke and Emily, didn’t make it.

Stockdale volunteer firefighter Rusty Duncan responded to the shooting. Inside the church, Ward was the first person he noticed.

“I felt something holding my pant leg and I looked down and it was a little arm. So I picked him up and took him outside,” Duncan said.

Duncan visited Ward in the hospital almost every Sunday. The visits kept Ward’s spirits up, especially after difficult surgeries and long recovery periods.

“No matter how much pain he was in, you could never see it,” Duncan said.

When Ward learned he’d finally be going home, he wanted to go in style. Luckily, he had a new friend with a pretty sweet ride.

“He asked me to go faster, he asked me if the siren could be louder, and he wanted me to blow the horn more,” Duncan said.

Ward is finally home. He still has a mom, a dad and a sister. And he still has a long road to recovery, but residents of this small Texas town say they’ll be with Ward every step of the way. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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