Michael Ward called the shooting "unreal", in an interview with the newspaper.
"I didn't get shot because I was hiding, and Mama covered Emily, Ryland and Brooke", family friend Vonda Greek Smith quoted Rihanna as telling her. "He is 5 years old with a big heart for his other siblings, friends, and family", she wrote on Sunday.
She said she held the boy and comforted him until help arrived. The Wards were regular churchgoers and they "pretty much went there every Sunday", Zwicke says. He was angry and didn't believe him, Michael said.
Devin Kelley killed at least 26 people when he opened fire at a church in Sutherland Springs on Sunday, received a bad conduct discharge from the military in 2014 after being court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and reportedly fracturing his stepson's skull on objective.
The 26 fatal victims ranged in age from 18 months to 77 years old, Texas officials announced Monday morning at a press conference.
"Our church was not comprised of members or parishioners". "Now most of our church family is gone". "As soon as she threw her on the ground, she scooped up her other three that were sitting next to her in a pew - Ryland, who's five, and Brooke, who's five, and Emily, who's seven - and she immediately covered them with her body".
Among the dead are the pastor's 14-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old aspiring NICU nurse. "And she gave it up for them ultimately", Smith said.
The massacre appeared to stem from a domestic situation and was not racially or religiously motivated, Texas Department of Public Safety Regional Director Freeman Martin said.
Kelley died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was chased by bystanders and crashed his auto. She said he was shot in several places and may lose his arm; another bullet shattered his femur. Her body was not shield enough.
The Air Force acknowledged on Monday that Kelley was able to purchase firearms because they had failed to submit his criminal history to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as required by military rules.