This story is part of a KXAN series of reports called “Stop Mass Shootings,” providing context and exploring solutions surrounding gun violence in the wake of the deadly Uvalde school shooting. We want our reports to be a resource for Texans, as well as for lawmakers who are convening a month after the events in Uvalde to discuss how the state should move forward. Explore all “Stop Mass Shootings” stories by clicking here.
WASHINGTON D.C. (Nexstar) — Eleven-year-old Miah Cerrillo, who survived the school shooting in Uvalde, told a House committee on Wednesday that she doesn’t feel safe in school anymore, after covering herself in another classmate’s blood in order to appear dead to the gunman.
Cerrillo, along with the parents of a victim and Uvalde’s sole pediatrician, shared excruciating testimony recounting their experience before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform in a hearing on gun violence.
“He shot my teacher and told my teacher good night and shot her in the head” she said. “And then he shot some of my classmates and the white board,” Cerrillo said in a prerecorded video aired to the committee.
Cerrillo told lawmakers about her experience on May 24, when a gunman killed 19 of her fellow classmates and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, giving a play-by-play account of how the horrors unfolded that day. She said her class was watching a movie when her teacher learned about the active shooter and then locked the door. Cerrillo said, at that point, the shooter was already in the hallway and made eye contact with her teacher.
Cerrillo said her teacher told students to “go hide.” She said she hid behind her teachers desks and backpacks as the gunman shot at the door window before moving to the other classroom. Cerrillo said the gunman was able to access her classroom through an adjoining door, and then shot her teacher in the head and shot her classmates.
“I thought he [the gunman] was going to come back to the room, so I grabbed the blood, and I put it all over me,” she said.
After that, Cerrillo said she tried to stay quiet. She later grabbed her dead teacher’s phone and dialed 911.
“I told [the operator] her that we need help and to send the police to our classroom,” she said.
In the pre-recorded remarks, someone off camera asked Cerrillo if she felt safe at school, to which she shook her head no, saying she doesn’t want it to happen again. The questioner asked if she was worried about it happening again and Cerrillo nodded yes.
Her father, Miguel Cerrillo, was physically present in D.C. at the committee hearing and spoke after his daughter’s remarks played, telling lawmakers he was there because “I could’ve lost my baby girl.”
“She is that same little girl that I used to play with,” Mr. Cerrillo said, sniffling in-between words as he appeared visibly choked up. “I wish something will change not only for our kids, but every single kid in the world because schools are not safe anymore. Something needs to really change.”
Parents Felix and Kimberly Rubio lost their 10-year-old daughter, Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio, in the shooting and delivered remarks virtually to members. Felix, a Uvalde County deputy, said he and his wife had been at the school hours before the shooting to celebrate their daughter making the honor roll and receiving a good citizen award.
“Given the opportunity, Lexi would have made a positive change in the world…that opportunity was taken from her. She was taken from us,” Kimberly Rubio said. “Somewhere out there, there is a mom listening to our testimony, thinking ‘I can’t even imagine their pain,’ not knowing that our reality will one day be hers unless we act now.”
The Rubios gave members a list of gun reform policy demands. Rubio called on Congress to ban assault rifles and high capacity magazines, raise the age to purchase such weapons from 18 to 21, pass red flag laws and stronger background checks, and repeal gun manufacturers’ liability immunity.
“We don’t want you to think of Lexi is just a number,” she said. “She was intelligent, compassionate and athletic…she was firm, direct voice unwavering. So today, we stand for Lexi. And as her voice we demand action.”
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the New York Democrat who’s the committee chairwoman, said the hearing would focus on the “gun violence epidemic in the United States” and examine the “urgent need” to address it.