Two weeks after a gunman murdered 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, an 11-year-old survivor testified at a House hearing on gun violence on Wednesday. Miah Cerrillo appeared on video and described the afternoon of the shooting, telling Congress she covered herself in a dead friend’s blood and played dead to make it out of the classroom alive. Miah, who previously spoke to CNN about her experiences, said her class was watching a movie when her teacher got an email about the gunman and went to lock the door, only to discover him in the hallway. “They made eye contact and then she went back into the room and told us, ‘Go hide,’” said Miah, who watched as the gunman entered, shooting her teacher and several classmates dead. “When I went to the backpacks, he shot my friend. I thought he was going to come back to the room so I grabbed the blood and I put it all over me,” said Miah, who said she then “stayed quiet” and dialed 911 on her teacher’s phone. When asked if she thought a shooting would happen again, Miah nodded yes, saying, “I don’t want it to.”
Miah’s father, Miguel Cerrillo, also testified, along with family members of victims of the recent racist attack in Buffalo and a Uvalde pediatrician who treated children with AR15 wounds. Kimberly and Felix Rubio, whose 10-year-old daughter Lexi was murdered in the Uvalde massacre, described their final moments with their daughter at an honor-roll ceremony hours before the shooting. “We promised to get her ice cream that evening, told her we loved her, and that we would pick her up after school,” Kimberly Rubio testified. “I can still see her walking with us toward the exit. In the reel that keeps scrolling across my memories, she turns her head and smiles back at us to acknowledge my promise. And then we left. I left my daughter at that school, and that decision will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
The hearing took place hours before the House voted to pass a package of gun-control measures — including raising the age requirement to purchase a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21 and banning the sale of magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition. Despite the House vote, the measures are expected to fail in the Senate due to staunch Republican opposition. In her Wednesday testimony, Kimberly Rubio addressed lawmakers’ repeated inaction regarding gun control. “We understand that for some reason, to some people, to people with money, to people who fund political campaigns, that guns are more important than children. So at this moment, we ask for progress,” Kimberly Rubio said. “Somewhere out there there is a mom listening to my testimony, thinking, I can’t even imagine their pain, not knowing that our reality will one day be hers unless we act now.”
This post has been updated.