CNN Producer Recounts Events of the Uvalde School Classroom Shared to Her by an 11-Year-Old Survivor


CNN producer Nora Neus shared new details from inside the Uvalde, Texas elementary school shooting on Friday, recounting the story of 11-year-old Miah Cerillo, who was in the classroom where the gunman barricaded himself earlier this week and opened fire on teachers and students, killing more than 20.

On CNN New Day, host John Berman spoke with Strong about the interview. Berman explained that since the shooting, the young girl has trouble being around men and preferred to only speak to women. It is unfortunately only part of the impact the shooting has had on her.

Relaying Cerillo’s story, Neus said the young girl recalled the shooter coming up to the classroom, making eye contact with one of the teachers inside, and then shooting out the glass on the door and immediately killing the two teachers present. He then opened fire on students. Cerillo was not shot, but was injured from “fragments” as the rounds were fired.

One of the more haunting details Cerillo remembers is the gunman’s final words to the first teacher he shot. He said, “goodnight” before he killed her.

Later, the shooting had begun, Cerillo recalls that music was being played, music she believed the shooter put on. When asked what king of music it was, the child could only describe it as “sad” and, heartbreakingly, called it “I-want-people-to-die music.”

“She thinks it was the gunman that put it on. He started blasting sad music. And I asked her like what was that? What kind of music? What do you mean by that? And she said — she just said it sounded like I want people to die music,” Neus said.

Cerillo called 911 while in the classroom after literally smearing blood on herself and playing dead to avoid detection by the gunman.

Neus explained that the young girl wanted to speak about her experience in the hopes that it may help prevent such a tragedy from occurring again. She also described the aftershocks of the event, including loud noises like an alarm on her phone frightening her during the interview.

“She seemed completely traumatized. Physically she’s mostly okay. She has these bullet fragments all over the back of her shoulder and her back and the back of her head. She said overnight a lot of her hair fell out in just kind of big clumps from where the bullet fragments had hit,” Neus said.

Cerillo’s family is working to get her into therapy and have set up a GoFundMe account to help with the costs, as she will likely need to travel to San Antonio to receive the help she needs.

As more details emerge about the timeline of the shooting, questions have arisen about the police response, with it being reported by officials that it took anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour for a tactical team to breach the school and take down the gunman. Cerillo said she also wondered where the police were and was even more confused when she heard many were standing outside as parents pushed them to go into the school. Police officials have said police during this time were helping to evacuate the school.

“She got emotional talking to me about this and said, ‘why didn’t they come in? Why didn’t they save us? The police were outside?'” Neus reported.

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