Brave mother-of-four died shielding her children from gunfire after cold-blooded killer rained bullets on Texas churchgoers in the state’s deadliest mass shooting on record

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
By Paul Martin

Joann Ward shielded her four children from Devin Kelley’s gunfire on Sunday
Ward daughters Brooke, 4, and Emily, seven, died in in Sutherland Springs attack
Her son, Ryland, five, and daughter Rhianna, nine, survived the Texas shooting
Devin Patrick Kelley murdered 26 at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs

7 November 2017

A mother who died as she shielded her four young children when a gunman opened fire inside a Texas church on Sunday helped save her five-year-old son and one of her daughters.

Joann Ward pushed her nine-year-old daughter Rihanna to the floor when a gunman sprayed shots inside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, then embraced her three other children, according to an account shared by a family friend on Facebook.

‘I didn’t get shot because I was hiding, and Momma covered Emily, Ryland and Brooke,’ Rihanna, who had her glasses shot off her face but survived the attack, recounted, according to the post by the family friend, Vonda Greek Smith.

Twenty-six churchgoers were killed in the shooting. Joann Ward and daughter Brooke, five, were among those who died at the scene. Ward’s daughter Emily, seven, died at the hospital.

Her son, five-year-old Ryland, was shot five times and was in critical condition after surgery, according to a GoFundMe page set up by a relative, Heather Bradley, to raise money for the family.

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