Pa. Father Saves Lives of Pregnant Daughter, Unborn Twins by Shielding Her From Gunfire on Her Wedding Night

Frederick Waring, 74, was struck by 10 bullets and is in critical condition

A Pennsylvania man is in critical condition after shielding his pregnant daughter from a hail of bullets intended for her on the night of her wedding, PEOPLE confirms.

Last Sunday afternoon, the daughter of Frederick Waring, 74, got married in a ceremony at a Philadelphia mosque. The 23-year-old bride posted a “just married” photo on Facebook.

Philadelphia police Lt. John Walker tells PEOPLE that in response to the photo, her new husband’s ex-wife wrote, “He deserves you. You deserve him. Take care of my kid.”

The post sparked a back-and-forth argument online, says Walker, who adds the women met in person and argued before the ex-wife left.

Around 10:30 p.m. the ex-wife arrived at the southwest Philadelphia home the bride and her father share. This time, the ex-wife had two men with her. She started arguing with the bride again, says Walker.

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“The argument gets heated. At some point, the ex-wife tells the two males with her ‘Just shoot them. Just kill them,’ ” Walker alleges.

The two men allegedly took out handguns and both started firing at the bride — who is five months pregnant with twins. During the shooting, Waring, the bride’s father dove in front of her to shield her, Walker says.

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Waring took about 10 shots to his torso. Walker says Waring’s act saved his daughter’s life and those of the unborn twins.

“His daughter was in crisis,” says Walker. “He did the right thing as a father.”

The bride was shot twice in her hip and in her leg.

Waring was rushed into surgery and remains in critical condition, Walker says. His daughter is stable and the unborn babies are okay.

Officers are not releasing the bride and groom’s names right now. “We still have some concerns about safety for everybody,” Walker says.

Police are searching for the three suspects after they allegedly fled in two cars: a Nissan Sentra that officers located Monday in a wooded area three blocks away and a white Mercedes that hasn’t been found.

Walker says that social media can often lead to quick escalation of conflict.

“Things happen so fast you don’t even think about them. Then you end up in a situation like this where two people are shot,” he says.

“That’s the problem with social media. It travels in milliseconds and reactions become real and fights become guns. And people often don’t take a step back and take a deep breath before they react. Everybody reacted quickly. And the devastation is huge.”

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