After it was revealed that the Holcombe family lost nine of its members during Sunday’s horrific shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, more details have come out about another family deeply impacted by the tragedy.
Like the Holcombes, the Wards are also dealing with the unimaginable results from the traumatic event, with 5-year-old Ryland Ward clinging to life in a Texas hospital after he was shot four or five times in his arm, groin and stomach.
A relative named Heather Bradley, who set up a GoFundMe for Ryland and his family, said the little boy was shot “once in the elbow, twice in the stomach, and twice in the leg” when gunman Devin Kelley entered and killed 26 parishioners.
But, despite Ryland’s dire injuries, the child has been fighting for his life.
Tragically, Ryland’s stepmom, Joann Ward, his 5-year-old sister, Brooke, and Joann Ward’s other daughter, Emily Garza, were also killed. His father, Chris, survived, as he was not inside the church, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The little boy’s older sister, Rihanna, 9, survived the rampage, despite having her glasses shot off.
Ryland’s uncle, Michael Ward, 31, told the outlet that he carried the little boy out of the church after the attack and a helicopter brought Ryland to safety; the child, who was reportedly “clinging to a church pew” after the shooting was listed as being in stable condition as of Tuesday morning, The New York Daily News reported.
“It’s unreal at first,” Michael Ward told The Dallas Morning News on Sunday. “The church of all places.
NBC News reported that Ryland’s recovery will be a “long journey,” but he emerged from emergency surgery in stable condition following Sunday’s shooting.
“He is 5 years old with a big heart for his other siblings, friends, and family,” Bradley wrote in her GoFundMe description. “Please anything and everything will help my cousin out. We have set up a bank account that will go directly for Ryland and all his expenses.”
So far, that fundraising effort has brought in more than $84,000.