Fire truck takes last victim, 6, in church shooting home from hospital
Ryland Ward rode in the fire truck from University Medical Center in San Antonio to his home in Sutherland Springs
SAN ANTONIO — A 6-year-old boy who was shot several times and was the last victim still hospitalized following the Nov. 5 church massacre in South Texas left the hospital for home Thursday, riding home in a firetruck.
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 shooting that left more than two dozen worshippers at the First Baptist Church dead and about 20 others wounded. The attacker, Devin Patrick Kelley, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Ryland was shot five times. His stepmother, Joann Ward, and his two sisters, 5-year-old Brooke Ward and 7-year-old Emily Garza, were killed in the shooting. The gunman killed 25 people at the church. Authorities have put the official toll at 26 because one of the victims was pregnant.
"Many of us at University Health System who have been touched by the strength and spirit of Ryland and the other Sutherland Springs patients celebrate this milestone with them and their families," said hospital spokeswoman Elizabeth Allen.
Patrol cars and other firetrucks formed a procession that escorted Ward back to the community of about 420 residents. Motorists pulled to the side of the road into town, and some stepped from their vehicles and waved at the child.
The truck then carried the child past a sheriff's barricade to his house, which was kept off-limits to the public.
UHS officials Thursday declined to provide details on Ryland's current medical condition. However, he has been through a lot, his great uncle said last month.
Earl McMahan told KSAT-TV before the holidays that the boy has had several surgeries and that doctors were still treating his arm, leg and internal organs.
Other victims hospitalized at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio or Connally Memorial Medical Center in Floresville were previously discharged.
6-year-old Ryland Ward waves from the window of a firetruck escorting him home from the hospital, where he spent two months recovering from gunshot wounds sustained in church shooting in Sutherland Springs, TX - ABC News pic.twitter.com/45qPjptmSy— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) January 11, 2018
WELCOME HOME: Little Ryland Ward is back home after recovering from gunshot wounds sustained in the November church shooting in Sutherland Springs that claimed the lives of 26 people but not the strength and spirit of the community. @DavidMuir reports. #AmericaStrong pic.twitter.com/sxcVkOnCrB— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) January 12, 2018
Today, we had the best seats in the house as we led the way for Ryland Ward as he made his way home to Sutherland Springs. From University Hospital to La Vernia to Sutherland Springs, there were nothing but smiles and cheers as everyone wished Ryland all the best! pic.twitter.com/rR9QHF6tYj— San Antonio PD (@SATXPolice) January 12, 2018
Dozens of people gathered on a Texas highway for 6-year-old Ryland Ward's homecoming. The Sutherland Springs shooting survivor returned home in a fire truck. @OmarVillafranca has the story. pic.twitter.com/3R3NBtNT0L— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 12, 2018