An 11-year-old survivor of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas, feared the gunman would return for her, so she was stained with her friend’s blood and pretended to be dead.
Miah Cerrillo told CNN of her horrific experience that day inside the classroom where mass shootings took place that killed 19 of her classmates and two of her teachers.
Miah said she and her classmates were watching the movie “Lilo and Stitch” in a joint classroom by two teachers, Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia. The students had finished class when teachers received the news that there was a gunman in the building, she told CNN’s “New Day”. One of the teachers went to close the door, but Miah says the assailant was already there and shot.
She described that everything was happening so fast – the teacher returned to the classroom and the gunman followed her. She told CNN he made eye contact with one of the teachers, said “Good night” and then shot her. He opened fire, shooting the other teacher and many of Miah’s friends.
She said the bullets passed near her and partially hit her shoulders and head. The girl was later treated at the hospital and came out with some minor injuries. Miah said that after shooting the students in her classroom, the gunman entered an adjacent classroom.
She heard screams and the sound of gunfire in that classroom. However, after the shooting stopped, she says the attacker started putting on loud music – sad music, she said.
The girl and a friend of hers managed to pick up her dead teacher’s phone and call 911 for help. Miah said she feared the gunman would return to her classroom to kill her and several other surviving friends. So she dipped her hands in the blood of a classmate – who was lying next to her, dead – and then smeared herself with blood to pretend to be dead.
Miah said it seemed to her as if she had been lying there for 3 hours, covered in the blood of her classmate, with her friends. She told CNN she thought police had not yet arrived at the scene. She later said she heard rumors that police were waiting outside the school. As she told this part of the story to CNN, she started crying, saying that she just did not understand why they did not come in to save them.
Miah’s mother said her daughter is traumatized and cannot sleep. The child’s parents have launched a GoFundMe to pay for her therapy.
While giving the interview, Miah stood wrapped in a blanket, despite the warm temperatures. A cell phone alarm was accidentally dropped during the interview and Miah was visibly disturbed by the noise.
Her mother said this was happening often, she described a previous incident where they were in a car wash and the sound of water scared her a lot.
Miah was too scared to talk on camera, or with a man, because of what she experienced, but she told CNN she wanted to share her story so people knew what it was like to experience a shooting at school. She says she hopes it can help prevent a tragedy like this for other children.
A “miracle child”
Miah’s mother said she was born with a stomach tumor and was not expected to live long after giving birth. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor at the age of 3 years. Her mother called her a “miracle child” and said this is even more true now.
Her mother also told CNN that the morning of the shooting, Miah had an earache and she pulled him out of school to go to the doctor.
On the way back, they stopped at Starbucks for a drink and her mother told Miah not to go to school that day as it was one of the last days before the summer holidays and they were just watching movies.
But Miah insisted she wanted to go back to school to meet friends, so her mother took her back to school – about an hour before the shooting.