Schoolgirl Tells Congress Of Playing Dead To Survive Texas Massacre

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 08: 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, June 8, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images/ AFP)

 

 

An 11-year-old girl told horrified lawmakers Wednesday of smearing herself in her murdered classmate’s blood to play dead during the most chilling in a spate of gun massacres that have convulsed the United States.

Miah Cerrillo, a fourth-grader at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, recounted for a House of Representatives committee the moments when 19 of her fellow students and two teachers were killed by a teen gunman last month.

She recalled how her class had been watching a movie and scrambled behind their teacher’s desk and their backpacks when the shooter burst into the room.

“He… told my teacher ‘good night’ and then shot her in the head. And then he shot some of my classmates and the whiteboard,” Miah said in a brief but gut-wrenching pre-recorded interview.

“When I went to the backpacks, he shot my friend who was next to me and I thought he was going to come back into the room so I grabbed a little blood and put it all over me.”

Miah recalled how she kept completely silent, before grabbing her dead teacher’s cell phone when the moment came and dialing 911.

“I told her that we need help — and (we need) to see the police in our classroom,” she said.

Police in Uvalde have come under intense scrutiny after it emerged that more than a dozen officers waited outside the door of Miah’s class and did nothing as the children lay dead or dying.

Miah was asked what she wanted to see happen in the wake of the attack.

“To have security,” she said, confirming that she feared a mass shooter could target her school again.

“I don’t want it to happen again,” she said.

– ‘Ripped apart’ by gunfire –
Miah — whose account of the shootings left some lawmakers in tears or wide-eyed in disbelief — is having nightmares and still healing from bullet fragments in her back, according to her father Miguel Cerrillo.

“She’s not the same little girl I used to play with,” he told the committee.

Her testimony came with Congress facing mounting pressure to respond to spiraling gun violence — and particularly mass shootings — across the country.

Massacres at Miah’s school and days earlier at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York have shocked the nation, reigniting urgent calls for gun safety reforms.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee also heard from the mother of Lexi Rubio, a Robb Elementary fourth grader who was killed.

“We don’t want you to think of Lexi as just a number. She was intelligent, compassionate and athletic,” Kimberly Rubio said via a video link, wiping away tears as she sat next to her husband Felix.

“She was quiet, shy, unless she had a point to make. When she was right, as she often was, she stood her ground. She was firm, direct, voice unwavering. So today we stand for Lexi and as her voice, we demand action.”

Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician who attended to several victims in Uvalde, spoke of encountering “two children whose bodies had been pulverized by bullets fired at them, decapitated, whose flesh had been ripped apart.”

– ‘Elected to protect us’ –
A cross-party group of senators is working on a narrow collection of controls that could develop into their first serious attempt at gun regulation reform in decades.

The package would boost funding for mental health services and school security, narrowly expand background checks, and incentivize states to institute so-called “red flag laws” that enable authorities to confiscate weapons from individuals considered a threat.

But it does not include an assault weapons ban or universal background checks, meaning it will fall short of the expectations of President Joe Biden, progressive Democrats, and anti-gun violence activists.

And even this compromise deal has to run the gauntlet of an evenly divided Senate and earn the votes of at least 10 Republicans, most of whom are against significant regulatory reform.

On the other side of the Capitol, House Democrats passed a much broader package of proposals late in the day that includes raising the purchasing age for most semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21.

Those proposals are however going nowhere — they do not have the 60 votes they would need to advance in the Senate. But Democratic leadership has been keen to act after the spate of recent mass shootings.

Garnell Whitfield Jr, the son of Buffalo massacre victim Ruth Whitfield, who was 86, testified Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee on white supremacist violence.

“You expect us to continue to forgive and forget over and over again? And what are you doing? You were elected to protect us and protect our way of life,” the retired fire commissioner said in an emotional appeal to senators.

Morning Of Horror: The Texas Shooter’s Path

UVALDE, TX – MAY 24: The home of suspected gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, is cordoned off with police tape on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. According to reports, Ramos killed 19 students and 2 adults in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School before being fatally shot by law enforcement. Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

 

The day after his 18th birthday, Salvador Ramos, a troubled teenager from small-town Texas, bought his first assault rifle. A week later, he walked into a local elementary school, where he shot and killed 19 young children and two of their teachers.

Authorities were still trying to piece together what drove Ramos to commit America’s worst school massacre in a decade, but here is what is known so far about the shooting:

– How the shooter attacked –
Described as a long-bullied youth with a history of self-harm, Ramos turned 18 on May 16 and bought an assault rifle the very next day.

He purchased 375 rounds of ammunition on May 18, and then a second rifle two days after that.

Ramos — a dropout with no criminal history — messaged on Facebook Tuesday morning that he planned to attack his grandmother, whom he lived with, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said.

Ramos shot his 66-year-old relative in the face, but she was able to call the police and was airlifted in critical condition to a hospital in nearby San Antonio.

The shooter then messaged again on social media to say he had followed through on his plan to attack his grandmother, and that an elementary school was his next target.

He drove a little over two miles (3.2 kilometers), crashing his car near Robb Elementary School.

He took an assault rifle with him and headed for the school, where more than 500 students in grades two to four — aged around seven to 10 years old — had just three days of class left before summer vacation.

Ramos, clad in black and wearing a tactical vest, was confronted by a school resource officer, but was able to enter the school through a back door.

He then made his way to two adjoining classrooms.

“That’s where the carnage began,” said Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The identities of the victims have been gradually revealed as shattered families share their pain online: Xavier Lopez, a 10-year-old boy who loved to dance; Ellie Garcia, “the happiest ever” in her father’s words and Amerie Jo Garza, a girl with a brilliant smile who had just celebrated her 10th birthday.

 

This undated screenshot from the instagram account of Salvador Ramos, shows Ramos who is the suspected gunman in the May 24, 2022, shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, holding what appears to be an ammunitions magazine. (Photo by social media / AFP)

 

– How he was stopped –
As a crowd grew nearby, police arrived on the scene in response to a report of a crashed vehicle.

Hearing shots coming from the school, they ran inside and themselves came under gunfire.

Some police started to break windows and evacuate children and teachers from the premises.

Law enforcement on site helped pin the shooter in place until a tactical team that included US Border Patrol agents was assembled.

“Upon entering the building, agents and other law enforcement officers faced gunfire from the subject, who was barricaded inside,” said Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Marsha Espinosa.

Law enforcement officers “put themselves between the shooter and children on the scene to draw the shooter’s attention away from potential victims,” said Espinosa.

It was more than 30 minutes after Ramos entered the school that he was finally shot and killed by one of the Border Patrol agents.

 

This undated screenshot from the instagram account of Salvador Ramos, shows Ramos who is the suspected gunman in the May 24, 2022, shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. –  (Photo by social media / AFP) 

 

– Who was the shooter? –
Ramos had been living with his grandmother for two months, McCraw said. According to Governor Abbott, no psychological problems were known to local health departments.

A cousin, Mia, told The Washington Post Ramos “wasn’t very much of a social person” after being bullied for a stutter. He loved playing video games, according to another friend.

In social media messages to a young German girl he had recently met online, Ramos explained that he had just shot his grandmother and was continuing onward to “shoot up” the school.

The 15-year-old girl, who lives in Frankfurt, said he was angry with his grandmother that morning because she was “on the phone with AT&T,” a US telecommunications provider, on a call concerning his phone.

According to the girl, Ramos spent a lot of time alone at home and “he never had plans with his friends.”

The Victims Of The Tragic Texas School Shooting

The mother of Alithia Roidriguez (C) speaks with the press about her daughter who died in the mass shooting, during a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 25, 2022. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

 

 

 

A young boy who loved to dance, a girl who was “the happiest ever” — here’s a closer look at some of the victims of the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers.

 

A girl cries during a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 25, 2022. (Photo by allison dinner / AFP)

Amerie Jo Garza, the big sister

Amerie Jo Garza, a young girl with a brilliant smile, had just celebrated her 10th birthday in mid-May.

For unbearably long hours on Tuesday, her father Angel Garza had no news of her.

“I don’t ask for much or hardly even post on here but please it’s been 7 hours and I still haven’t heard anything on my love,” he wrote on Facebook, along with a photo of him hugging his grinning daughter.

Several hours later, he posted again.

“Thank you everyone for the prayers and help trying to find my baby,” he said. “My little love is now flying high with the angels above.”

“I love you Amerie Jo. Watch over your baby brother for me.”

 

The mother of Alithia Roidriguez (C), who died in mass shooting attends a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 25, 2022. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

 

Ellie Garcia, ‘a doll’

“Our Ellie was a doll and was the happiest ever,” Ellie Garcia’s father, Steven Garcia, wrote on Facebook. “I was gonna DJ for her at her party like she wanted me too!!!”

“Mom and Dad love you never forget that and please try and stay by our side,” he added.

Ellie’s mother Jennifer Lugo also posted many photos of her daughter on social media. “My heart is broken,” she wrote alongside a photo of Ellie at her first communion in 2021, dressed in white and beaming at the camera.

“I feel so numb. I miss you baby!!!!!”.

 

People mourn as they attend a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 25, 2022.  (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

 

Eva Mireles, teacher

Eva Mireles was one of two teachers killed Tuesday by the 18-year-old gunman. In her early forties, she had been teaching for 17 years.

She loved running and hiking, according to a short biography of her posted on the school website.

“And now you just might see me riding a bike!!” she added.

Mireles is survived by her husband, a daughter and three pets.

 

A woman holds a photo of Nevaeh Bravo, who was killed in the mass shooting, during a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 25, 2022.  (Photo by allison dinner / AFP)

 

Irma Garcia, mother of four

Irma Garcia had been teaching for 23 years at Robb Elementary, the school targeted in the attack. She had been a co-teacher with Mireles for five years.

A mother of four who had been married for 24 years, Garcia loved to barbecue with her husband and to listen to music.

Her eldest son is in the US Marines, while another is attending Texas State University. Her eldest daughter is a sophomore in high school, and her youngest is in seventh grade.

 

The photo of Makenna Lee Elrod, a little girl victim of the shooting, is seen by flowers placed on a makeshift memorial in front of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 25, 2022. – The tight-knit Latino community of Uvalde was wracked with grief Wednesday after a teen in body armor marched into the school and killed 19 children and two teachers, in the latest spasm of deadly gun violence in the US. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

 

Xavier Lopez, the dancer

Xavier Lopez, 10, “loved to dance,” his uncle Benito Martinez told Fox News Tuesday night.

“Oh man, he would dance even when he sweated but he didn’t care,” Martinez said of his young, dark-haired nephew.

“This past Sunday he was at my daughter’s birthday party,” Martinez said, smiling at the memory. “He was dancing.”

 

People mourn as they attend a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 25, 2022.  (Photo by allison dinner / AFP)

 

Jose Flores, the good student

Ten-year-old Jose Flores “loved going to school,” his uncle Christopher Salazar told The Washington Post.

“He was a very happy little boy. He loved both his parents… and loved to laugh and have fun,” Salazar said of the fourth-grader, adding: “He was very smart.”

Just hours before the shooting, Flores received an award for making the school honor roll.

 

 

A local resident holds a placard that reads “ Prayers 4 Uvalde” as they grieve for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 25, 2022.  (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

 

Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco (R) hugs Texas Governor Greg Abbott as they attend a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 25, 2022. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

 

 

A woman cries as she attends the vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 25, 2022.  (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

 

Ukraine Leader Sends Condolences Over ‘Awful’ Texas School Shooting

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement by videolink during an event on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos on May 25, 2022. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

 

 

The president of war-torn Ukraine weighed in Wednesday on the Texas school shooting that left at least 19 children dead, saying it was “terrible to have victims of shooters in peaceful times.”

“I would like to express my condolences to all of the relatives and family members of the children who were killed in an awful shooting in Texas in a school,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

“This is terrible to have victims of shooters in peaceful times,” he said by video link at a conference on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss Russia’s invasion of his country.

An 18-year-gunman killed at least 19 young children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas on Tuesday.

The attack in Uvalde — a small community about an hour from the Mexican border — was the deadliest US school shooting in years, and the latest in a spree of bloody gun violence across America.

“I feel it is my personal tragedy when children are killed in Texas, and now in my country Russian military is killing our children,” Zelensky said.

UPDATED: Gunman Kills 19 Children, Two Teachers At Texas Elementary School

FILE PHOTO: A Bryan police officer blocks access to an industrial park near the scene of a mass shooting in Bryan, Texas on April 8, 2021.  Sam Craft / AFP

 

A teenage gunman killed at least 19 young children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas on Tuesday, prompting a furious President Joe Biden to denounce the US gun lobby and vow to end the nation’s cycle of mass shootings.

The attack in Uvalde — a small community about an hour from the Mexican border — was the deadliest US school shooting in years and the latest in a spree of bloody gun violence across America.

“It’s time to turn this pain into action for every parent, for every citizen of this country,” Biden said, his voice heavy with emotion.

“It’s time for those who obstruct or delay or block common-sense gun laws — we need to let you know that we will not forget,” he said.

“As a nation, we have to ask when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, addressing an earlier news conference, named the suspect as Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old local resident, and a US citizen.

“He shot and killed, horrifically and incomprehensibly,” Abbott said.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials told CNN the gunman is believed to have shot his grandmother before heading to Robb Elementary School around noon where he abandoned his vehicle and entered with a handgun and a rifle, wearing body armor.

READ ALSO: Two Years After George Floyd’s Murder, Biden To Sign Executive Order On Police Reform

More Than Dozen Children Wounded 

The gunman was killed by responding officers, the officials said, adding later two teachers also died in the attack.

“Right now there’s 19 children that were killed by this evil gunman, as well as two teachers from this school,” DPS spokesman Lieutenant Chris Olivarez told NBC News.

More than a dozen children were also wounded in the attack at the school, which teaches more than 500, mostly Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students.

Uvalde Memorial Hospital said on Facebook it had received 13 children while University Health hospital in San Antonio said on Twitter it had received a 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl, both in critical condition, and two other girls aged nine and 10.

At least one Border Patrol agent responding to the incident was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with the shooter, Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Marsha Espinosa tweeted.

Footage showed small groups of children weaving through parked cars and yellow buses, some holding hands as they fled under police escort from the school, which teaches students aged around seven to 10 years old.

It was the deadliest such incident since the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut, in which 20 children and six staff were killed.

The White House ordered flags to be flown at half-mast in mourning for the victims — whose deaths sent a wave of shock through a country still scarred by the horror of Sandy Hook.

 ‘Happens Nowhere Else’ 

Ted Cruz, a pro-gun rights Republican senator from Texas, tweeted that he and his wife were “lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde.”

But Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook shooting took place, made an impassioned appeal for concrete action to prevent further violence.

“This isn’t inevitable, these kids weren’t unlucky. This only happens in this country and nowhere else. Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day,” Murphy said on the Senate floor in Washington.

“I’m here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues: Find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.”

The deadly assault in Texas follows a series of mass shootings in the United States this month.

On May 14, an 18-year-old man shot 10 people dead at a Buffalo, New York grocery store.

Wearing heavy body armor and wielding an AR-15 rifle, the self-declared white supremacist livestreamed his attack, having reportedly targeted the store because of the large surrounding African American population.

The following day, a man blocked the door of a church in Laguna Woods, California, and opened fire on its Taiwanese-American congregation, killing one person and wounding five.

Despite recurring mass-casualty shootings, multiple initiatives to reform gun regulations have failed in the US Congress, leaving states and local councils to strengthen — or weaken — their own restrictions.

The National Rifle Association has been instrumental in fighting against stricter US gun laws. Abbott and Cruz are listed as speakers at a forum that is being held by the powerful lobby in Houston, Texas later this week.

The United States suffered 19,350 firearm homicides in 2020, up nearly 35 percent compared to 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its latest data.

AFP

At Least Eight Killed In Texas School Shooting

File photo of Law enforcement officers stand near one of many crime scenes after a shooting on November 14, 2017, in Rancho Tehama, California where four people were killed and nearly a dozen wounded. PHOTO: Elijah Nouvelage / AFP

 

At least eight people were killed when a student opened fire on his classmates at a Texas high school on Friday, authorities said.

“There are multiple fatalities,” the sheriff of Harris County, Ed Gonzalez, told a news briefing. “There could be anywhere between eight to 10, the majority being students.”

Harris said the gunman was a student at Santa Fe High School in the city of the same name, located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Houston.

AFP