Texas gunman said ‘goodnight’ before shooting teacher, says child survivor of Uvalde massacre

·5-min read
 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 (Getty Images)
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 (Getty Images)

An 11-year-old survivor of the Texas elementary school massacre has told politicians how the gunman said “goodnight” before shooting her teacher.

Fourth-grader Miah Cerrillo has also told how she escaped with her life by covering her clothes in her dead friend’s blood.

She was one of the only survivors of the shooting that left 19 of her fellow pupils and two teachers dead.

In a pre-recorded interview Miah told how she called 911 using the deceased teacher’s phone and pleaded for help.

The pupil spoke alongside the grieving parents of multiple young Americans killed and wounded in recent mass shootings on Wednesday before a congressional panel as lawmakers work to find a compromise gun safety bill.

“He told my teacher ‘goodnight’ and shot her in the head,” Cerrillo said inthe video played for the committee.

“And then he shot some of my classmates and the white board,” she said. “He shot my friend that was next to me... And I thought he was going to come back to the room. I got the blood and put it all on me.”

Miguel Cerrillo, father of Miah Cerrillo (REUTERS)
Miguel Cerrillo, father of Miah Cerrillo (REUTERS)

In the video testimony Miah’s father, Miguel Cerillo, asked his daughter if she feels safe at school anymore. She shook her head no.

“Why?” he asks. “I don’t want it to happen again,” she responds.

After Miah spoke, her father told lawmakers that he testified because “I could have lost my baby girl.”

“But she is not the same little girl that I use to play with,” Cerrillo said. “Schools are not safe anymore. Something needs to really change.”

The shocking testimony came during a hearing by the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Reform about two weeks after the shooting by an 18-year-old at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

The parents of Lexi Rubio, who died in her classroom in Uvalde, also testified. Felix and Kimberly Rubio recounted finding out about their daughter’s death hours after leaving Lexi’s school awards ceremony on the morning of the shooting.

To get to the elementary school, Kimberly Rubio said she ran barefoot for a mile with her sandals in her hand and with her husband by her side. A firefighter eventually gave them a ride back to the civic center.

“Soon after we received the news that our daughter was among the 19 students and two teachers that died as a result of gun violence,” she said, fighting through tears.

She said that Lexi would have made a positive change in the world if she had been given the chance.

“Somewhere out there, there’s 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,” Kimberly Rubio said.

Dr Roy Guerrero described in stark terms the carnage he witnessed at the local hospital as he tried to treat the injured. He went to the area of the hospital where two dead children had been taken. The bodies were so pulverised, he said, “that the only clue to their identities was the blood-splattered cartoon clothes still clinging to them, clinging for life and finding none.”

It was one of a spate of mass shootings across the US in recent weeks that killed dozens and sparked a new round of bipartisan talks in the US Senate.

With Democrats and Republicans deeply divided on guns, the talks have focused on modest goals including encouraging states to pass “red flag” laws to deny firearms to people judged a risk to themselves or the public.

Republicans, who strongly support the right to keep and bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, have objected to proposals such as limited sales of the assault-style rifles used in the Uvalde massacre and another mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, grocery story that killed 10 Black victims.

They have called as a witness for Wednesday’s hearing Lucretia Hughes of the DC Project Women for Gun Rights.

The group said it “encourages the preservation of America’s gun culture” while raising awareness of firearms safety.

Uvalde school teacher  Arnulfo Reyes (Good Morning America)
Uvalde school teacher Arnulfo Reyes (Good Morning America)

Injured teacher Arnulfo Reyes was shot while 11 of his pupils were killed by the teenage gunman who was eventually shot dead by police.

Speaking from the bed of a hospital in San Antonio, where he has undergone five surgeries and had his blood replaced twice, Mr Reyes criticised the response of police who took over an hour to stop the gunman.

Mr Reyes said he felt abandoned by police, saying: “There is no excuse for their actions and I will never forgive them.”

“You had a bulletproof vest. I had nothing,” he added.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit a memorial at Robb Elementary School to pay their respects to the victims of the mass shooting (AP)
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit a memorial at Robb Elementary School to pay their respects to the victims of the mass shooting (AP)

Annabell Rodriguez “was a sweet young girl whose favorite color was blue, especially on butterflies,” her obituary stated. The 10-year-old honor roll student enjoyed watching TikTok videos and spending time with her two sisters.

Her funeral was being held Wednesday. Services for the victims will continue into late June.

Annabell’s cousin, Jacklyn Cazares, was her best friend. The two girls and three others were part of a close-knit quintet of friends. All five died in the shooting.

“Our lives will never be the same without you,” the aunt of the cousins, Letty Hernandez, posted on Facebook a day after the shooting.

Another aunt, Polly Flores, posted, “My beautiful angels. At least you are together. But our hearts are broken in a million pieces. We love you.”

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