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An 11-year-old girl who survived the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, smeared herself with blood and played dead when gunman Salvador Ramos entered her classroom, her family have said.
Ramos killed 19 children and two adults in the mass shooting on Tuesday, before being shot and killed by law enforcement.
Fourth grader Miah Cerrillo was present at the school during the attack and her auntie, Blanca Rivera, said the youngster's survival instinct kicked in during the incident.
Rivera told NBC: "Miah got some blood and put it on herself so she could pretend she was dead. 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."
Miah was taken to hospital for her injuries but has since been released.
Rivera said: "My brother said she had bullet fragments in her back.”
Among those killed was Miah’s teacher Irma Garcia, and Rivera said her niece is struggling to cope following the attack.
The auntie, who is a mother of three, said the family were now rallying around Miah to offer her emotional support.
"At this point, we just have to pray and ask God to help us move forward through this situation, I know it's traumatising as it is," she said.
In the wake of the devastating incident, US President Joe Biden has urged Americans to stand up to the gun lobby.
Giving an address, he said: “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?
“It is time to turn this pain to the action, for every parent, every citizen of this country. We have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: it’s time to act. It’s time for those who obstruct or delay or blocked the common sense gun laws – we need to let you know that we will not forget.”
The attack was the deadliest shooting at a US grade school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, almost a decade ago.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677
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