UVALDE, Texas — The family of an 11-year-old girl who survived Tuesday’s mass shooting at a southern Texas elementary school said the fourth grader played dead after the gunman entered her classroom.
Miah Cerillo was one of the students injured when an 18-year-old killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, her aunt, Blanca Rivera, of Houston, told KTRK-TV.
Rivera said Cerillo’s teacher, Irma Garcia, was one of two educators killed when Salvador Ramos opened fire, the television station reported.
Rivera said her niece “went into survival mode” when the gunman began shooting.
“Miah got some blood and put it on herself so she could pretend she was dead,” Rivera told KXAS-TV. “It’s too much for me to play that scene over and over again, but that’s what my sister-in-law said is that she saw her friend full of blood and she got blood and put it on herself.”
Rivera told KTRK that she did not know how her niece came up with the idea, but her actions most likely saved her life.
“She did what she had to (do) to survive,” Rivera told the television station. “(She) pretended to be dead.”
Cerillo was injured but has since been released from an area hospital, KXAS reported.
“My brother said she had bullet fragments in her back,” Rivera told the television station.
Rivera told KPRC-TV that Cerillo seemed to be handling the tragedy well until she got home on Tuesday night.
“Around midnight, my sister-in-law called me and she was just crying like, ‘I think it just hit Miah. I think everything came to reality. We’re home, and she’s just crying and having a panic attack,’” Rivera told the television station.
Rivera said her family plans to go to Uvalde in the next few weeks to visit their relatives.
”You don’t have to be a parent to feel the pain these parents are going through,” Rivera told KTRK. “It’s unimaginable what they went through, especially the smaller kids. They didn’t have to go through that.”
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