Sutherland Springs Victim Ryland Ward Goes Home | Texas Public Radio

Sutherland Springs Victim Ryland Ward Goes Home

Jan 11, 2018

Updated at 5:25 p.m.

University Hospital in San Antonio released the last victim of the Sutherland Springs shooting Thursday.

Ryland Ward, who turned six while undergoing treatment for five gunshot wounds, got a ride home in  a fire truck driven by Assistant Fire Chief Rusty Duncan of nearby Stockdale.

Stockdale Fire Chief Edwin Baker said Duncan was the first responder who rescued Ryland from the church following the shooting Nov. 5.

“Ryland actually reached and grabbed Rusty’s pants leg, and Rusty reached down and pulled him out," Baker said."Rusty went to the hospital to see how he was doing, and as his recovery progressed they grew a bond between each other.”

Ryland and Duncan arrived in Sutherland Springs Thursday afternoon accompanied by a police escort, where he was greeted with the sound of sirens and cheers from community members, who lined the highway to see him arrive.

"It's so good to know that he's coming home. It's an extremely beautiful blessing," said Terrie Smith,  who was good friends with Ryland's stepmom JoAnn Ward. JoAnn Ward and her two daughters died in the shooting.

Vivian Salinas, 6, welcomes Ryland Ward home to Sutherland Springs with her mom, Melissa Salinas (left) brother Evan Salinas, Nikki Bingham and Alexis Bingham.
Credit Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio

Melisssa Salinas stood in a truck bed waving signs with friends and family, including her daughter, Vivian, and son Evan.

“It’s been hard, especially for my daughter, who rode the bus to school with Ryland,” Salinas said. “Ryland coming home is probably the best thing that’s happened since (the shooting).”

Camille Phillips can be reached at or on Twitter @cmpcamille