When an 11-year-old student at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, saw her friend get fatally shot in front of her inside their fourth-grade class Tuesday, she went into what her aunt called “survivor mode” and smeared the other girl’s blood on her body to convince the gunman that she, too, was dead.
“My sister-in-law said is that she saw her friend full of blood, and she got blood and put it on herself,” Blanca Rivera told the station KPRC of her niece, Miah Cerrillo.
Before playing dead, the quick-thinking girl also managed to grab her dead teacher’s phone and call 911 for help.
Miah survived one of the worst mass school shootings in U.S. history, but her family says the harrowing ordeal has left her traumatized.
Rivera, the girl’s aunt, said at around midnight on the night of the shooting, she got a call from Miah’s mom, saying that the fourth-grader was having a “panic attack.”
The massacre claimed the lives of 19 students and their two teachers, Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia. Several others were injured, among them Miah, who was left with multiple bullet fragments in her back.
Law enforcement eventually shot and killed the suspected gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who had barricaded himself inside the classroom and spent 40 minutes executing children and adults as desperate parents standing outside the school begged cops at the scene to go inside.
Miguel Cerrillo, Miah’s father, told the Washington Post that when he learned of the active shooter situation, he raced to Robb Elementary School and got there just in time to see a police officer carrying his bloodied daughter out of the building.
The girl, whose left side was covered in lacerations, and whose hair was singed by gunfire, was loaded onto a school bus, but her dad was prevented from joining her.
Instead, Cerrillo said they talked through a window about what Miah had witnessed inside the classroom.
The fourth-grader told her dad that she saw her teacher Eva Mireles get shot as she was holding her phone, Cerrillo recounted. Miah grabbed Mireles’ phone and used it to dial 911.
The gunman then shot Miah’s friend, and she decided to play dead by laying on top of the mortally wounded girl, who was bleeding profusely.
Cerrillo said his daughter told him that initially, the wounded classmate was still breathing, but she later succumbed to her injuries.
After being rescued from the building by police, Miah was treated at a local hospital and released home.
According to her father and aunt, Miah spent the night in a state of panic, telling her dad to arm himself because “[the gunman is] gong to come get us.”
Miah is one of five children in her family. Her younger sister is a second-grader at Robb Elementary School and was not harmed in the shooting.