Mass shooting survivor testifies before Congress

By Adrienne Vogt, Mike Hayes, Aditi Sangal, Clare Foran, Eric Levenson and Jason Hanna, CNN

Updated 4:16 p.m. ET, June 8, 2022
16 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:36 a.m. ET, June 8, 2022

Father of Uvalde school shooting survivor says she's "not the same little girl" anymore

Miguel Cerrillo, father of shooting survivor Miah Cerrillo, testifies during Wednesday's hearing.
Miguel Cerrillo, father of shooting survivor Miah Cerrillo, testifies during Wednesday's hearing. (Jason Andrew/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)

Miguel Cerrillo, the father of Miah Cerrillo, spoke through tears Wednesday and said the shooting had changed his daughter.

“Today I come because I could have lost my baby girl," he said. "She is not the same little girl that I used to play with, and run around with and do everything, because she was daddy’s little girl," he said.

He has five children and Miah is the middle child. He described her as "everything, not only for me but her siblings and her mother."

"Thank you for letting me be here and speak out, but I wish something will change, not only for our kids but for every single kid in the world because schools are not safe anymore," he said. "Something needs to really change."

10:58 a.m. ET, June 8, 2022

11-year-old Uvalde shooting survivor describes how she covered herself in friend's blood to stay alive

In a pre-recorded video, 11-year-old Miah Cerrillo described to lawmakers how she survived the Robb Elementary School massacre by smearing her friend's blood over herself and pretending to be dead.

Students tried to hide behind their teacher's desk when the gunman entered the classroom, she said.

The gunman shot her teacher in the head, as well as some of her classmates, including her friend next to her, Cerrillo said.

When he went into the adjacent room, she got "a little blood and I put it all over me" and stayed quiet.

She got her teacher's phone to call 911. She told the dispatcher they needed help and to send the police.

Cerrillo said all she wants is "to have security" and that she is afraid to return to school for fear of another shooting.

11:18 a.m. ET, June 8, 2022

Pediatrician describes the "carnage" of the Uvalde elementary school shooting

From CNN's Clare Foran

Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician in Texas, described witnessing what he described as the "carnage in my hometown of Uvalde" during Wednesday's hearing.

Guerrero — who said he's lived in Uvalde his whole life and treated children in the community before the massacre — said that he "raced" to Uvalde Memorial Hospital on the day of the mass shooting. "I'll never forget what I saw that day," he said. As part of his testimony, he recounted a horrifying and disturbing scene:

"I had heard from some of the nurses that there were two dead children who had been moved to the surgical area of the hospital." He went on to say, "what I did find was something no prayer will ever relieve: Two children, whose bodies had been so pulverized by bullets fired at them, decapitated, whose flesh had been ripped apart, that the only clue as to their identities was blood-spattered cartoon clothes still clinging to them. Clinging for life and finding none."

Later in his testimony, Guerrero said, "I chose to be a pediatrician. I chose to take care of children. Keeping them safe from preventable diseases I can do. Keeping them safe from bacteria and brittle bones I can do. But making sure our children are safe from guns, that’s the job of our politicians and leaders. 


10:55 a.m. ET, June 8, 2022

Uvalde survivor says she doesn't feel safe at school and believes there will be another shooting

In a pre-recorded video, 11-year-old Miah Cerrillo was asked what she wants to be different after the massacre. She answered: "to have security."

Asked by an interviewer if she feels safe at school, she shook her head no. On why she doesn't feel safe, she said, "Because I don't want it to happen again."

When she was asked if she thinks it's going to happen again, she nodded yes.

10:41 a.m. ET, June 8, 2022

Mother of Buffalo shooting survivor to anti-reform lawmakers: Come clean my son's wounds

From CNN's Clare Foran

Zeneta Everhart, the mother of Zaire Goodman, a victim of the Buffalo supermarket shooting who was treated and released from the hospital, called on lawmakers to act on gun violence during Wednesday’s hearing in emotional testimony.

“Lawmakers who continuously allow these mass shootings to continue by not passing stricter gun laws should be voted out,” she said. “To the lawmakers who feel that we do not need stricter gun laws let me paint a picture for you: My son Zaire has a hole in the right side of his neck, two on his back and another on his left leg caused by an exploding bullet from an AR-15. As I clean his wounds I can feel pieces of that bullet in his back. Shrapnel will be left inside of his body for the rest of his life. Now I want you to picture that exact scenario for one of your children. This should not be your story or mine. As an elected official it is your duty to draft legislation that protects Zaire and all of the children and citizens in this country.” 

“If after hearing from me and the other people testifying here today does not move you to act on gun laws, I invite you to my home to help me clean Zaire’s wounds so that you may see up close the damage that has been caused to my son and to my community,” she said.

10:23 a.m. ET, June 8, 2022

The House committee hearing on gun violence has begun

A House committee hearing on gun violence, featuring several survivors and victims' families from recent shootings, began in Congress just after 10 a.m. ET Wednesday.

The hearing was convened by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, chaired by Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York. House Democrats are describing it as a hearing on "the urgent need to address the gun violence epidemic."

Maloney offered opening comments, followed by Rep. James Comer, Republican of Kentucky.

According to the committee's website, key witnesses include Miah Cerrillo, a fourth-grade student who survived the Uvalde school shooting; Felix and Kimberly Rubio, the parents of Lexi Rubio, a 10-year-old killed in the shooting; Zeneta Everhart, the mother of Zaire Goodman, who was wounded in the Buffalo supermarket shooting; and several law enforcement officials.

10:01 a.m. ET, June 8, 2022

Uvalde 4th grader will testify via video at House hearing 

From CNN's Lauren Fox

The House Oversight Committee says that fourth grader Miah Cerrillo’s testimony will happen via video this morning. Her dad will introduce it. 

Here's the full statement from Chair Carolyn Maloney: 

“The Committee has been in close contact with Miah, her family, and her pediatrician and has been prioritizing her safety and comfort first and foremost. Her decision to record her story and share it with the American people is courageous – and I hope all Members open their hearts and minds to what she has to say. Miah, her family, and her pediatrician have made the decision to have her not appear in person, and she will be represented by her father who will introduce her recorded testimony.” 
9:53 a.m. ET, June 8, 2022

A teacher and "hero" guard were among the 10 killed in the Buffalo shooting

From CNN's Alisha Ebrahimji, Dakin Andone and Amir Vera

A retired police lieutenant. A substitute teacher who was a "pillar of the community." A beloved grandmother of six. A dedicated community activist.

They were among the 10 people killed in a shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket Saturday — a massacre authorities believe was racially motivated.

Thirteen people, ages 20 to 86, were shot. Eleven were Black and two were White, Buffalo police said. Authorities identified the victims:

  • Roberta A. Drury, 32, of Buffalo
  • Margus D. Morrison, 52, of Buffalo
  • Andre Mackniel, 53, of Auburn, New York
  • Aaron Salter, 55, of Lockport, New York
  • Geraldine Talley, 62, of Buffalo
  • Celestine Chaney, 65, of Buffalo
  • Heyward Patterson, 67, of Buffalo
  • Katherine Massey, 72, of Buffalo
  • Pearl Young, 77, of Buffalo
  • Ruth Whitfield, 86, of Buffalo
  • Zaire Goodman, 20, of Buffalo, was treated and released from hospital
  • Jennifer Warrington, 50, of Tonawanda, New York, was treated and released from hospital
  • Christopher Braden, 55, of Lackawanna, New York, had non-life-threatening injuries
9:45 a.m. ET, June 8, 2022

Buffalo shooter showed signs of untreated violent behavior. Experts say youth like him need long-term support.

From CNN's Emma Tucker

Investigators stand outside on May 21 during a moment of silence for the victims of the Buffalo supermarket shooting.
Investigators stand outside on May 21 during a moment of silence for the victims of the Buffalo supermarket shooting. (Joshua Bessex/AP)

The 18-year-old White man who opened fire at a Buffalo supermarket, killing 10 and injuring three, was first known to authorities in 2021 after making a generalized threat while attending his high school, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.

New York State Police took the suspect to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after he made a threat and worked on a school project that mentioned murder-suicides. But authorities released him after a day-and-a-half after determining that his threat was not specific enough to warrant further action, investigators have previously said. This allowed him to legally purchase the AR-15-style weapon he used in the attack.

The case of the Buffalo suspect – who pleaded not guilty to the 25-count indictment against him – exemplifies how high-risk adolescents, left untreated and unmonitored, can fall through the cracks of the system that aims to disrupt potentially violent behaviors, which allows those young people to carry out deadly acts of violence, several experts tell CNN.

Experts researching and developing approaches for long-term treatment to troubled teenagers say that they demand intensive services over a long period of time across agencies in mental health, community and law enforcement.

High-risk adolescents are characterized by antisocial disorders, social withdrawal, depressed mood and a lack of empathy or remorse, according to a National Policing Institute report released earlier this year on managing high-risk adolescents in community contexts. Those who become radicalized by extremist groups or harbor dangerous, racist views, experts say, require a more complex treatment plan that seeks to address the underlying causes of their ideology and reframe their mindset entirely.

The role of police in dealing with high-risk adolescents is to respond to an articulated or imminent threat of danger, an arrest, or transportation to a psychiatric or crisis center for an evaluation, according to Frank Straub, director of the National Policing Institute’s (NPI) Center for Targeted Violence Prevention.

Keep reading here.