Leslie Ward was setting up a yard sale outside her Sutherland Springs, Texas, home on Sunday when she heard a “bam bam bam bam” coming from the church nearby.
Little did she know that one of the deadliest shootings in modern history was occurring inside, or that her family members’ lives were in serious jeopardy.
Upon hearing gunshots, Ward woke up her husband and then rushed to the church, according to the New York Daily News.
She knew that her sister-in-law, Joann Ward, and her three young children were attending the service.
And when she made it inside, her worst nightmares were confirmed. She immediately found her 5-year-old nephew, Ryland Ward, lying in the pews.Michael Skolnik/Facebook
She told the New York Daily News:
“I found my nephew in the front, in pain. It was bad. There was just dead bodies everywhere. It wasn’t what I wanted to see but at the time, I wasn’t worried about it. I was worried about finding my family.”
Little Ryland had been shot four times. He was later flown to a nearby hospital and is in stable condition, but the boy’s uncle, Michael Ward, can’t help but worry.
The uncle told Dallas News:
“They got him all cut open, from the gunshots. I don’t think he’s going to make it.”
Sadly, Joann Ward and her two daughters didn’t make it. The mother is now confirmed to be a victim of the shooting, along with Brooke Ward, 5, and Emily Garza, 7.
— infowe (@infowe) November 6, 2017
Their family was left heartbroken.
Chris Ward, the father of the children, was not at the church during the shooting. He was mistakenly identified as the shooter when the news initially broke, according to Dallas News.
His eldest daughter was also at the service and had her eyeglasses shot off her face but is unharmed.
At least 27 people are now confirmed dead following the incident. The shooter has been identified as 26-year-old Devin Kelley.