Parents of victims, Uvalde survivor testify before Congress over proposed gun legislation
Eleven-year-old Miah Cerrillo was inside the classroom in Robb Elementary School while a gunman entered and killed 19 of her fellow classmates and two teachers.
In a video played during a Congressional hearing Wednesday, she laid out in harrowing detail how she survived the attack.
”He shot my friend,” she said. “I thought he was going to come back to the room, so I grabbed the blood and I put it all over me.”
Asked what she did after smearing herself in blood, she responded: “Just stayed quiet and then got my teacher’s phone and called 911.”
The fourth-grader’s testimony was delivered in front of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, where she was joined by family members of gun violence victims at a hearing aimed at examining proposed legislation after recent mass shootings.
The committee heard testimony in an effort to “examine the urgent need for Congress to pass common sense legislation," according to the committee’s website, including a ban on the sale of AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles and bolstering background checks on gun purchases.
Cerrillo said she and her classmates were watching a movie when her teacher told the class to "go hide." The students hid among backpacks as the shooter began firing into the classroom through the door’s window. Then he gained access to the room through a neighboring classroom, Cerrillo said.
"He shot my teacher and told my teacher good night and shot her in the head," Cerrillo said. “And then he shot some of my classmates.”
Towards the end of the video, the 11-year-old said she did not feel safe at school, and that she believed another shooting would happen again.
The shooting in Uvalde left 21 dead — 19 children and two adults — and 17 injured.
Ten-year-old Lexi Rubio was awarded for her exemplary grades that morning.
Hours later, she was among those who died.
Her parents, Kimberly and Felix Rubio, testified virtually Wednesday and demanded that the committee move forward with legislation to ban the sale of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.
“I left my daughter at that school, and that decision will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Kimberly Rubio said. “Today, we stand for Lexi. And as her voice, we demand action.”
Several Republican committee members, like U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Georgia, dismissed calls for tougher guns laws, and instead focused on improving mental health programs and enhancing security at schools by allowing teachers to carry firearms.
“I hope that this hearing is looking for legitimate, functional and effective answers, and not just a bunch of left-wing talking points,” Clyde said. “The harder the target you are, the less likely you will be engaged by the enemy.”
Uvalde Pediatrician Roy Guererro also spoke during Wednesday’s hearing, describing the scene as he entered Uvalde Memorial Hospital. Guererro said parents were sobbing outside of the hospital, and that the bodies of two children were “pulverized” and “decapitated” by gunfire.
Like a majority of speakers, Guererro demanded that urgent action be taken by lawmakers in order to prevent another tragedy.
"You are the doctors and our country is the patient,” Guererro said. “We are laying on the table, riddled with bullets like the children of Robb Elementary and so many other schools. We are bleeding out and you are not there."
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