Boy Shot in Texas Church Massacre Arrives Home After More Than 2 Months in Hospital

Sparky the dog greets Sutherland Springs shooting victim Ryland Ward outside University Hospital, Jan. 11, 2018.
University Health System

A little boy who was shot in the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church massacre arrived home today — riding through town on a firetruck — after more than two months in the hospital.

On Nov. 5, a gunman stormed the rural First Baptist Church, leaving 26 dead, according to police, who have included an unborn child in the death count. The attack was deemed the worst mass shooting in Texas history.

Sutherland Springs shooting victim Ryland Ward takes his ride home in a firetruck after his release from the hospital, Jan. 11, 2018.
University Health System
Investigators work at the scene of a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Nov. 5, 2017.
Jay Janner/Statesman.com via AP

Among the injured was now-6-year-old Ryland Ward, who was shot several times.

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

Ryland Ward, 5, was shot in the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church massacre, Nov. 5, 2017.
Family handout

Once he rushed inside the church, he went through the aisles and “started checking for people’s pulses,” Duncan said. “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.”

“As soon as we got him outside, his dad [Chris Ward] ran up to me and said, ‘They killed my baby.’ “And I told his dad, ‘No, he’s not dead, he’s still alive,'” Duncan said. “Unfortunately his wife and two girls were actually gone.”

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.

Memorials in Sutherland Springs, Texas, for those shot and killed in the massacre at the First Baptist Church there Nov. 5, 2017.
Gina Sunseri/ABC News
Memorials in Sutherland Springs, Texas, for those shot and killed in the massacre at the First Baptist Church there Nov. 5, 2017.
Gina Sunseri/ABC News

Ryland was rushed to the hospital and soon the young boy’s mother reached out to Duncan, the firefighter said.

“I met with her and talked to her then I was actually able to go to the hospital and see him for the first time,” about a week after the shooting, Duncan said.

“He was heavily sedated,” Duncan said, going through “surgery after surgery.”

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SOURCE: ABC News, Emily Shapiro