A fourth-grade survivor of last month’s Uvalde school shooting has told a hearing how she dabbed blood on herself and pretended to be dead after the gunman murdered her teacher and friends.
Miah Cerrillo and the parents of multiple young Americans killed and wounded in recent mass shootings has testified at the US House Oversight Committee hearing as lawmakers work to find a compromise gun safety bill.
“He told my teacher ‘goodnight’ and shot her in the head,” the Robb Elementary school student said in a pre-taped interview played for the committee.
“And then he shot some of my classmates and the whiteboard,” she said, adding: “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.”
Milah told how she covered herself in blood and pretended to be dead in order to survive the attack by high school dropout Salvador Ramos.
The hearing also included testimony from the parents of one of the young victims killed in the shooting on 24 May.
A total of 19 children were killed by the 18-year-old gunman, who crashed a vehicle before making his way into school and opening fire in one of America’s worst school shootings.
The young student said she fears such violence could happen again at school.
The massacre in Uvalde was one of a spate of mass shootings across the US in recent weeks that has left dozens dead and fuelled a new round of bipartisan talks in the US Senate.
Since Democrats and Republicans are deeply divided on guns, the talks have focused on modest goals such as encouraging states to pass “red flag” laws to deny firearms to people judged a risk to themselves or the public.
Republicans strongly favour the right to keep and bear arms as protected by the Second Amendment of the US
Constitution, and 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 store.
Today’s hearing also includes testimony from the mother of a Buffalo Tops shooting victim.
Ten people were killed in the massacre on 14 May, with three others wounded.
Police said the suspected gunman Payton Gendron was taken into custody after the attack – which is being investigated as “a racially-motivated hate crime”.
The hearing comes after Uvalde-born Hollywood actor Matthew McConaughey delivered a moving and powerful address at the White House on the need for “responsible” gun legislation.
Later today, the full House is set to debate a bill that would raise the minimum age to 21 from 18 on purchases of
certain firearms and toughen prohibitions on untraceable guns.
As it would require the votes of 10 Republicans, the bill is highly unlikely to pass the Senate.
In the past, Democrats have attempted to pass wide-ranging gun control legislation to stem the tide of mass murders, which already have topped 200 this year alone in the US, and other gun-related violence.
But this time, Democrats have suggested a willingness to accept a much more narrow first step with legislation to Republicans, even as President Joe Biden calls for tougher action, such as banning assault weapons.