An 11-year-old student who survived the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas has described how she pretended to be dead to avoid being shot.
Speaking with CNN, fourth-grade student Miah Cerrillo described the terrifying scene as the 18-year-old shooter killed 19 children and two faculty members. She didn’t appear on camera for the interview, in which she was accompanied by her mother, but she did agree to share her experience with CNN’s Nora Neus.
The students were watching Lilo and Stitch in class when her teachers, Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia, were informed there was an active shooter on the premises. One of them went to lock the door, but gunman Salvador Ramos was already outside the classroom by that point and shot through the window in the door. Cerrillo told Neus that the shooter looked the teacher in the eyes, said “Goodnight,” and shot her.
Cerillo, who was injured with fragment wounds during the shooting, said he proceeded to shoot the other teacher and many of her classmates. She overheard the shooter go into the adjoining classroom, and heard the sound of screams and gunshots. When the gunshots fell silent, he began to play music she described as sad. After that, she and her friend picked up her dead teacher’s phone and called for help.
Afraid that he was going to return to the classroom, she rubbed the blood of her dead friend on herself and played dead. The 11-year-old told CNN that it felt like she played dead for three hours. At that point, she said she wasn’t sure the police were at the scene. After the terrifying ordeal, she learned that police were on the scene long before they broke into the classroom and shot Ramos dead. A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help with her medical expenses and the trauma of the violence.
Cerillo isn't the only survivor of the shooting to share their heartbreaking story. A fourth-grader who spoke anonymously with KENS 5, described hiding under a table with a cloth over it to avoid being detected by the shooter.
"When I heard the shooting through the door, I told my friend to hide under something so he won't find us," he said. “I was hiding hard. And I was telling my friend to not talk because he is going to hear us.” He hid under the table with four others, and said that at one point one of the kids in his classroom yelled for help after police asked them to do so and was shot dead.
“When the cops came, the cop said: 'Yell if you need help!' And one of the persons in my class said 'help.' The guy overheard and he came in and shot her," the boy said. "The cop barged into that classroom. The guy shot at the cop. And the cops started shooting.” The boy added the teachers put their lives at risk to save more children. “They were nice teachers," he said. "They went in front of my classmates to help. To save them.”
Questions have been raised regarding the police response to the situation, and a recent report indicated that Ramos entered the school “unobstructed,” which means he did not come into contact with school officers or local law enforcement as previously indicated.