SUTHERLAND SPRINGS (CBSDFW.COM) – Few people both witnessed the horror that happened on Sunday and knew those who died.
One woman who did is shared her heart wrenching account for the first time with CBS11’s JD Miles.
“She had worked this week,” says Terrie Smith.
There’s a time card with her name on it still inside this small restaurant across the street from where Joann Ward lost her life on Sunday right before her best friend’s eyes.
“We heard four shots, constant: da da da da.”
Terrie Smith not only heard the gunfire that continued, she watched the shooter fire into the church from the outside.
“All I can remember seeing is the body jolting while the shots were going off. Then he emerged on the other side and he just went shooting all around the building,” remembers Smith.
Smith says bloody victims ran across the road and collapsed on the ground.
All she could think about was Joann and her four children inside.
“When we got here Joann had just left here with her children.”
Joann’s five and eight-year-old daughters died along with their mother who used her own body to cover them. Two of Joann’s children survived.
Ward’s heroism has led to an outpouring of sympathy from mothers everywhere like Michelle Gifler. “The stories of the mothers I would’ve done the same thing any mom would have.”
Her unforgettable actions didn’t surprise to Terrie Smith, her best friend. “She was a beautiful girl, a wonderful mother and a good friend. I know she’s in heaven, I know her babies and all those people are in heaven.”
Authorities have not released any new information about the investigation.
We did learn that the pastor of the church has informed Southern Baptist leaders he plans to rebuild the church elsewhere and turn the crime scene into a memorial.