AP/Eric Gay

Ryland Gets A Firetruck-Ride Home After Leaving Hospital

Sunday, January 14, 2018

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A 6-year-old boy was the last victim still hospitalized following the Nov. 5 church shooting in South Texas left the hospital for home Thursday, riding home in a firetruck. He sustained significant injury during the shooting. 

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 where two dozen worshippers at the First Baptist Church lost their lives and about 20 others were hurt. The attacker took his own life when a man who lived in the area confronted him with a firearm of his own.

Ryland lost his stepmother, Joann Ward, and his two sisters during the incident.

"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.