As the Uvalde gunman continued to fire, the parents of a second daughter called 911 and wanted all responding officers to listen to the audio.
Injured 4th grader Myah Cerillo was on the phone with a 911 operator when gunfire erupted from the shooter at Robb Elementary School.
At 12:21 p.m., she says, “It’s shooting.”
“Shut up, make sure everyone shut up,” she said to the operator.
It would be 29 more minutes before officers confronted and killed the shooter.
At that point, armed responders were huddled outside connecting rooms 111 and 112 as they waited and talked and searched for weapons until one team finally entered the room and killed the gunman.
During the call, Mia and her classmate Chloe Torres — who both survived — called for officers to be sent to Uvalde, Texas, to save them from the massacre that killed 19 children and two teachers.
Little did they know that 376 officers from 23 local, state and federal agencies were responding, many far away, from their injured friends and teachers. At least one child and a teacher survived the initial attack but later died.
And now, Miah’s parents, Abigale Veloz and Miguel Cerrillo, want all those officers to hear the calls of their daughter, who was injured by flying over her shoulder and head.
“If kids are calling and they’re injured or they’re in the room, that shows they’re really fearless,” Cerillo said of the responding officers.
“All the officers out there need to hear this audio so the kids can understand what the hell they’re going through, and these suckers are out.”
The chaotic, protracted response on May 24 was considered a rejection for months. But full details of what happened and when they were banned, and Texas’ top police officer, did not provide an update as expected at a public meeting last week. Instead, Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, listened to the outrage of family members and acknowledged some wrongdoing before saying the officers “didn’t fail the community” of Uvalde.
Mah’s parents reached out to CNN on Tuesday after Chloe called 911 in Mah’s room and provided details of the dead and injured in Room 112, where officers eventually entered the room to stop the gunman and evacuate the victims.
Chloe’s father, Ruben Torres, praised his daughter’s actions and compared the officers to losing their jobs after hearing the 911 call again. “What they did to her that day, it was unbelievable,” he said of his daughter. “None of them had courage that day,” he said of the adults who responded.
An extract describing the slaughter of the 10-year-old boy Uvalde to Laki.
CNN obtained the 18-minute audio of the 911 call from the source and is using it with the permission of Chloe and Myah’s parents. A teenage gunman is active and moving between the two adjoining rooms, children caught, injured and needing to be rescued is a call that should stop doubt or hesitation.
The first time Mia’s parents heard the call was Wednesday, and they said it helped them understand more about what Mia told them about that day and what she went through.
She is overheard trying to help her teacher, Eva Mireles, who was shot dead, and gives their class numbers to Uvalde and Chloe, who is new to the school. And as Chloe relays the operator’s order for everyone to be quiet, Mia tries to keep her shocked and traumatized fourth graders quiet.
And then they heard her come online, taking over from Chloe with an equally blunt and polite question.
“Hello, can you please send help?” Miah asked at 12:19 p.m., 46 minutes after the shooter was seen entering the room but more than 30 minutes after he stopped.
“Are they in the building?” She repeatedly asks about law enforcement’s response. Her mother Mia believed officers were still looking for a way to approach them, never mind that they were stacked on the other side of the door, within walking distance.
Her family tried to keep her from learning more about the botched response, but last month she found some body camera video online showing distractions, delays and lack of communication.
Veloz said that when she found out about Mia, she was “very upset.” “She couldn’t believe they were there.”
Days later, Mia was able to tell CNN how she smeared blood on herself and played dead, leaving her alone if the gunman returned from the room next door. She also testified before the US Congress that she sent a video message to the House committee investigating gun violence, saying that all she wanted was to be “safe”.
These days, Mia finds it hard to talk to strangers, her mother said. The only people you trust are family.
He said hearing her parents on the 911 call gave her “a picture in our heads” of what she was telling them.
“Now we understand why you don’t want to go anywhere,” Veloz said.
They are still finding bullet fragments in her back, and the emotional damage is almost palpable.
“She’s not Mia anymore,” her mother said, recalling how her middle child loved to play pranks on her siblings and was now afraid of any loud noise.
This week is Mia’s birthday. She will be 12 on Friday. Her mother said her birthday wish was to shut up and leave Uvalde for the day.