Joann Ward pushed her 9-year-old daughter Rihanna to the floor when a gunman sprayed shots inside First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, then embraced her three other children, according to an account of her response shared by a family friend on Facebook.
A mother who used herself as a shield to try to protect her four young children when a gunman opened fire inside a Texas church on Sunday lost her life but helped save her 5-year-old son and one of her daughters.
Joann Ward pushed her daughter Rihanna Garza, 9, to the ground and shielded her three other children from the gunman’s bullets using her own body, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Two of her children, Rhianna and Ryland Ward, 5, survived. Joann was unable to save her other two children. Brooke, 5, died inside the church and Emily Garza, 7, died later at the hospital.