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 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.
“I didn’t get shot because I was hiding, and Momma covered Emily, Ryland & Brooke,” Rihanna 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, 5, were among those who died at the scene. Ward’s daughter Emily, 7, died at the hospital. MORE