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‘I Don’t Want It to Happen Again.’ Brave 11-Year-Old Who Survived Uvalde Shooting Testifies Before Congress

4 minute read

Eleven-year-old Miah Cerrillo described how she survived the shooting at her elementary school in Uvalde, Texas by rubbing herself in her friend’s blood and staying quiet. Miah’s chilling video testimony Wednesday to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform was part of an emotional morning in which survivors and victims’ family members urged lawmakers to act to stop mass shootings.

Miah, a student at Robb Elementary School, shared one of the first public accounts of what happened inside the two classrooms where 19 students and two teachers were killed by a gunman on May 24.

Miah says she saw her teacher and the shooter make eye contact as the teacher tried to lock the door. She told the students to hide before the shooter shot through the window and went to another classroom. Miah explained that there’s a door that connects her classroom to the one he went to. He eventually made his way to their classroom.

Miah Cerrillo, a fourth grade student at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and survivor of the mass shooting appears on a screen during a House Committee
Miah Cerrillo, a fourth grade student at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and survivor of the mass shooting appears on a screen during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 8, 2022.Andrew Harnik — Pool/AFP/Getty Images

“He told my teacher ‘Goodnight’ and shot her in the head,” she told lawmakers. “Then he shot some of my classmates.”

She explained that after the gunman left her classroom, she thought he might come back so she put blood all over herself and “stayed quiet” before she got her teacher’s phone and called 911.

Miah, showing extreme strength and courage in her testimony, said that she was afraid that these kinds of incidents will continue and that she doesn’t feel safe at school. “I don’t want it to happen again,” she said.

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The committee also heard from Felix and Kimberly Rubio, the parents of Lexi Rubio, 10, who was killed during the Uvalde massacre. The Rubios wanted lawmakers to think of their daughter as more than just a statistic and that their pain could be the pain another mother feels in the future.

“[Lexi] was intelligent, compassionate and athletic. She was quiet and shy unless she had a point to make,” Kimberly told the committee via live stream. “Somewhere out there there’s a mom listening to our testimony, thinking I can’t even imagine their pain. Not knowing our reality will one day be hers, unless we act now.”

Uvalde pediatrician Dr. Roy Guerrero said that he would never forget seeing the carnage and crying parents that day. Much of the testimony focused on the need for stricter gun laws top stop the the easy access citizens have to assault-style weapons. The gunman in the Uvalde shooting bought two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, not long after his 18th birthday.

Miah’s father, Miguel Cerrillo, was at the hearing in person and implored Congress to act on gun legislation. “I wish something will change not only for kids but every single kid in the world because schools are not safe anymore,” he told the committee.

In addition, Zeneta Everhart, the mother of Zaire Goodman, a 20-year-old survivor of the Buffalo mass shooting on May 14 spoke as well. “Parents who provide their children with guns should be held accountable,” Everhart said. “My son Zaire has a hole in the right side of his neck, two on his back, and another on his left leg, caused by an exploding bullet by an AR-15.”

A group of bipartisan senators are negotiating on a possible gun bill that could include expanding federal background checks, incentivizing states to pass “red-flag” laws, and addressing school safety. House Democrats appear ready to vote on another set of gun law control proposals, but those are expected to be opposed by Republicans in Congress.

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Write to Josiah Bates at josiah.bates@time.com