On Sunday, November 5th, a shooting took place at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. What was meant to be a beautiful day of worship suddenly turned into a terrible tragedy.
One gunman who has now been identified as a devout atheist, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, stepped inside of the church and opened fire among the service attendees. At least 26 people have been confirmed dead with multiple others injured and still receiving treatment in the hospital.
Unfortunately, the death toll may continue to rise as some victims are being treated for severe injuries. The shooter is among those dead; he reportedly shot himself after being chased down by the cops.
The first victim was identified on Sunday as the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter. It was quickly determined that several other children were also tragically killed in the attack, as young as 5 years old.
One truly heartbreaking story that has gone viral, is a mother of four who died in the shooting while shielding her babies. Once Joann Ward saw the shooter, she did everything in her power to protect her children.
According to a Facebook post from a close friend, Ward pushed her 9-year-old daughter down when the shooter came in and she immediately shielded her other kids to prevent them from getting shot.
Sadly, Ward died from gunshot wounds, as well as her 5-year-old daughter Brooke and 7-year-old daughter Emily. Her 9-year-old daughter Rihanna and 5-year-old son Ryland have thankfully survived this terrible tragedy.
Ryland’s survival was a true miracle, but family is concerned that he may not be able to make it through his recovery. New York Daily News reported that the young boy was shot four times and was flown to a local hospital via helicopter. He had to get several bullets removed from his arm, groin, and abdomen area.
Ryland’s older sister, Rihanna, described the situation in her own words, “I didn’t get shot because I was hiding, and momma covered Emily, Ryland & Brooke.”
Joann Ward’s husband and the father of the children, Chris Ward, is alive and will continue to care for the children. His family is worried about him being alone but assured they will stand by him.
Please keep this family in your prayers during this difficult time, as well as the other victims of the attack. May God bring these families peace, comfort, understanding, and healing. As one family member told the NY Daily News, this was “God’s will.”
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Thank you for your prayers. In related news, the shooter’s former classmates recently spoke out about his rage-filled past.