Central Texas boy critically injured in church shooting marks big milestone

Published: Jan. 7, 2019 at 1:14 PM CST
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A Central Texas boy critically injured in the Sutherland Springs church shooting celebrated a big milestone over the weekend celebrating his 7th birthday.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my son,” mom Chancie McMahan said from her home in San Saba. “And that I’m lucky enough to be his mom.”

Ryland Ward was shot Nov. 5, 2017 inside the First Baptist church in Sutherland Springs near San Antonio in a massacre that left 26 parishioners dead, including Ryland’s stepmom and two sisters.

The young boy was shot a total of five times, once in the elbow, twice in the stomach and twice in the leg.

His injuries led to multiple surgeries and a more than two-month long hospital stay in San Antonio.

When he returned home in early January, he did so in the front seat of a firetruck driven by the man who saved his life that day.

McMahan says firefighter Rusty Duncan remains a part of her son’s life today teaching him karate classes which has become one of Ryland’s favorite pastimes.

Many worried Ryland may never walk again, but today his mom says he’s exceeding all medical expectations.

“He is doing so good. He acts like his normal little self now just with scars on his little body," she said.

McMahan said these days her son enjoys going to school and just being a kid.

“He’s such a prankster,” McMahon laughed.

Ryland celebrated his 7th birthday at his dad’s home Jan. 5 and McMahan says she’s planning a celebration for next weekend at her home.