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Survivors and Victims Speak about Mass Shootings; Turkish Foreign Minister Says U.N. Plan to End Grain Blockade "Reasonable"; Berlin Assault by Auto Kills One, Injures Several; Uvalde-Born McConaughey Urges Gun Control Action; Key Leaders Snub Biden's Summit; U.S. House Testimony on Deadly Mass Shootings. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired June 08, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): High stakes talks in Turkey being called a threat of global magnitude if grain doesn't begin moving out of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, ACTOR AND UVALDE NATIVE: Maite wore green high-top Converse with a heart she had hand drawn on the right toe because they
represented her love of nature. Camila's got these shoes.
Can you show these shoes, please?
ANDERSON (voice-over): A Hollywood heavyweight puts a harsh spotlight on the devastation from the Uvalde school massacre. Today we hear from the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sharpness of the slowdown is really concerning. We think it's the biggest slowdown of the global economy in 80 years. I think
many countries will see a recession in this cycle.
ANDERSON (voice-over): A stark warning with the global economy on the brink, recessions may be unavoidable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. It is 3 pm out of London for you.
Getting the grain flowing again: the Turkish government trying to use its regional clout and close ties with two warring nations to break a blockade
that Ukraine's president calls a threat of global magnitude.
The blockade front and center as Turkey's foreign minister hosted his Russian counterpart today. Turkey's top diplomat calling a U.N. plan to end
the blockade reasonable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Of course, beyond trade security and the security in the Black Sea, the war
causes much more negative consequences.
And the biggest one of course, is the challenges for materials and goods to be exported from Ukraine and Russia. Here, there are multiple ideas in
place. And finally, we know that the U.N. has a plan which includes the supervision of vessels.
So between Ukraine the, Russian Federation and Turkey, we can establish a mechanism and a collaboration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Russia's foreign minister places the blame for the blockade squarely on Ukraine and says Ukraine must demine ports before shipments can
It couldn't be more important. Jomana Karadsheh in Ankara.
For those of our viewers, where they live in the world, who have concerns about food security, Ankara is really in focus today.
How are these negotiations going?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, they concluded a few hours ago. The Russian foreign minister here with a military delegation. They
arrived on Tuesday evening with their Turkish officials here.
We've heard from the Turkish and the Russian foreign ministers in a press conference. It does seem that there wasn't much progress that was made
other than this talk that was held today to agree on more talks.
It doesn't seem at this point that they have both Russia and Ukraine on board, despite the fact that both countries are saying they want exports to
resume. There are serious demands from both countries that will need to be addressed.
The indications are, the Russians are going to want something in return for agreeing to a deal to allow for the exports to resume. Indications they
will be looking at some kind of sanctions relief now they feel they have this leverage.
Then you also have got what we've heard from Ukrainians repeatedly, saying they want security guarantees when it comes to this issue where the
Russians are accusing the Ukrainians of planting these mines that they say is the reason why these exports are halted.
For these experts to be resumed, they say the Ukrainians need to remove the mines from the Black Sea. Ukrainians say they want security guarantees.
They believe Russia will use this to attack the southern coast of Ukraine.
Really, they need to tackle these issues before moving on to even more complex issues of what the sea corridor is going to look like and who is
really going to execute the plan overseas.
KARADSHEH: The Turkish foreign minister again sounding very optimistic that they will bring both sides together and the United Nations in the
ANDERSON: One can only hope that they can get this right. You bring up a very good point.
How would this grain corridor work?
ANDERSON: Should it be a workable option?
Is it clear, at this point?
KARADSHEH: It's not very clear. We've heard several ideas being discussed, Becky, in the past couple of weeks in Turkish media, Turkey's officials in
their interviews, basically, would look at some sort of grain corridor through the Black Sea, perhaps going through the Turkish straits. Issues
that are really going to have to be tackled, complex technical issues of the demining, of course, that's the key issue. Then you've got inspections.
Who is going to be carrying out these inspections?
Would it be the U.N.?
Would it be Turkey?
That's an acceptable player of major Black Sea power with ties with both Russia and Ukraine to inspect these ships to ensure that it is Ukrainian
grain, agricultural products moving in and out.
So they really need to work on these technical issues and this is where Turkey is hoping they could bring together the Ukrainians, the Russians and
the United Nations in the coming days.
Perhaps in Istanbul. We've heard Turkish officials also mention that in recent days to try and work through this. But I really think they need to
bring both countries fully on board to agree before starting to talk about these technicalities.
ANDERSON: They seem to be some distance apart at the moment. Thank you.
The byproduct of what is the Russian assault on Ukraine, let's get you a picture on what is going on, on the ground then, on the front lines in
Eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces fighting in Sievierodonetsk may pull back to more fortified positions.
What does that mean?
The Ukrainian military leader of the Luhansk region says troops are fighting for every inch of the city and won't surrender it.
New satellite images reveal the devastation of weeks of brutal and bloody fighting in this Donbas region. The military chief says Russian shelling is
erasing settlements from the very face of the Earth.
Meantime, Russia's state news agency reports more than 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers, who left the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, will be
transported to Russia for investigation. A lot more on Ukraine later this hour on CONNECT THE WORLD, including a gripping report from my colleague,
Ben Wedeman, on what it is like to stay behind in a combat zone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At 3 years old, Ivan doesn't know war rages around him.
Might explain --
ANDERSON (voice-over): The daily struggles of families living in hardship and fear. That is later this hour.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: To a deadly incident in Berlin now. A car drove into a crowd of people in a busy shopping area in the German capital, veering onto the
pavement and eventually crashing into a shop window.
Police say one person was killed and several injured, including six people with life-threatening injuries. Fred Pleitgen is following developments.
Police have identified the driver, just.
Who is he?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Identified and apprehended as well. First of all, one of the things that is really tragic,
you just heard a couple minutes ago, apparently, of those injured, at least some of them are students who were there on a school trip from central
Germany, really some very young people, unfortunately, who were injured in that incident.
As far as the driver is concerned, police have come out and said it's a 29- year-old man of German Armenian descent, who was a resident in Berlin. You can see there, on those pictures, the license plate begins with the B,
which is the Berlin license plate registration.
That person apparently is also a resident of Berlin. Police saying that this person caused this incident and then was apprehended by passersby and
handed over to the police.
ANDERSON: Do we know what happened at this point?
PLEITGEN: That's the big thing the police are coming out with. We have to know, the Berlin police are saying they're calling people, maybe witnesses,
to send in video so they can piece together better what exactly happened.
You can see again here, some scenes from the scene. A shoutout to our own Chris Stann (ph), who was on the ground, on the scene really quickly,
getting us these videos to make sure that we can also try and see some of the forensic work going on.
The police are essentially saying this was a protracted incident that happened at 10:30 am, around the time the shops open on that very busy
street. Apparently the car rammed into a group of people, then went back onto the road and then went off the road again on the sidewalk.
PLEITGEN: Then ending up in that store, which is actually a perfume store, that you see on that video as well.
So a protracted incident; that's one of the reasons why police say they are still trying to find out whether or not this was an accident or a whether
it was done deliberately.
ANDERSON: Berlin police are asking the public to upload videos. Thank you. Or stills to their website so officers can look for clues.
Scottish American actor John Barrowman was at the scene. He joins us now with his husband, Scott Gill, live from Berlin.
Horrific, I'm sure, to witness.
Tell us where you were and what you saw when this crash happened?
JOHN BARROWMAN, EYEWITNESS: We were at the Uniqlo store across the street. We literally just finished purchasing some things. We heard a very loud
noise. Didn't think anything of it. Came out.
When we saw was in front of us, we thought maybe it was incident, like an accident at a junction. It was a cross junction in the street. We walked
across the street. We saw the Renault Clio inside, had gone straight across a cafe area, barreled through all of the chairs. There were some injuries
there I think. Then it went right into the store window.
We still at that point, thought it was an accident. So we turned around, because we were heading to the bank to go change some money. As we walked
up the street, we then realized we were in something bigger because there was a dead body lying right in front of us on the street.
And when we got to the corner of the bank and the Levi's store, where the driver had come onto the pavement, and we just had dinner there the night
before. We knew we were in something much bigger because there were just people laying all over the --
BARROWMAN: -- a lot of people on the pavement. And then, within seconds, the emergency services swarmed in and started taking care of the people who
were injured. And then there was a second wave of emergency services, because I got on the phone and started calling my family.
And Scott talked to his family. And ironically, a friend of mine rang me, he's a military assault helicopter pilot. And he was just calling to say
hi. But I told him what was happening. He said get yourself behind a tree in case there's a second car or something. Then you are protected by the
So I sat behind the tree. I turned my camera on and started talking and stuff. At that point, the second wave of emergency services came in --
BARROWMAN: -- and they established a coordinate and sort of moving people back. But what's interesting, it's terrible, is the fact that, afterwards,
we realized that the Christmas market driving incident happened across the street --
SCOTT GILL, EYEWITNESS: -- from the other side of the street from --
BARROWMAN: -- from where we were. And that was the night, last night, we were walking home. And I saw all these large bollards. And I said, Scott,
that must be something that is done to protect the people on the streets.
And by the -- the person, now we know, it was a man who was dead on the street, he, next to him, was one of those bollards which had exploded. And
that was -- I mean, that's really what we saw.
So we almost traced back the steps, not knowing that we were involved in there --
GILL: -- this whole accident scene in reverse as we went this -- about 300 structures, 300 meters from the person down to (INAUDIBLE). And we
literally walked the whole accident scene.
It wasn't until we got halfway through it that we realized that there was a much bigger incident. It wasn't just a single accident; obviously connected
to a number of incidents down the street.
BARROWMAN: I know that there's -- they are still under investigation. They are still checking all that out. But clearly, if it was someone who passed
out at the wheel, they couldn't --
BARROWMAN: -- we mapped it out. They couldn't have gone that distance, not in --
ANDERSON: -- the investigation -- thank you, guys -- the investigation continues. It is not clear what happened at the scene. But your eyewitness
accounts are so useful, both to our us and to authorities.
There have been reports that the driver of this car was actually apprehended by the public at the scene, as it were.
Were you there?
Did you see what happened with the driver of this vehicle?
GILL: We arrived on the scene just as he was being dragged across the street. There was a huge commotion further up the street, which was away
from the accident scene. It was a bit strange. We couldn't --
BARROWMAN: -- but obviously we couldn't see if it was a policeman or the public dragging him up because when we stood by that cordon, the police
then came over to tell us to move.
BARROWMAN: But immediately when the car had gone in and it was clear that the door was opened from the vehicle and he was dragged out because we saw
the commotion on the ground.
ANDERSON: Guys, awful to witness. Our feelings are directed to those who have been involved directly in this. We really appreciate your time.
BARROWMAN: And, yes, don't worry about -- we are fine. We're just -- we feel sad for those people who got up in the morning -- breakfast and to
walk across the street to go to the bank and they were barreled down. It's just awful.
GILL: And that poor teacher.
ANDERSON: No, I totally understand. Thank you both for joining us this hour.
BARROWMAN: Thank you.
GILL: Thank you.
ANDERSON: This just in: prosecutors here in the United Kingdom have authorized indecent assault charges to be filed against disgraced movie
producer Harvey Weinstein. This stems from an alleged incident involving a woman in London in 1996.
The charges follow a review of a Metropolitan Police investigation. Weinstein has denied all of the allegations against him.
Coming up, a Hollywood star from Uvalde, Texas, makes an impassioned plea for action on gun reform. That is just ahead.
And a slew of no shows by top leaders at the Summit of the Americas.
Will it be an embarrassing black eye for its host, President Biden?
More on that up next.
ANDERSON: He is an Academy Award winning actor. But Matthew McConaughey is now raising his voice with other angry and grieving Americans to call for
gun reform after a massive shooting left his home town in mourning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONAUGHEY: So we know what's on the table. We need to invest in mental health care. We need safer schools. We need to restrain sensationalized
media coverage. We need to restore our family values. We need to restore our American values.
And we need responsible gun ownership, responsible gun ownership. We need background checks. We need to raise the minimum age to purchase an AR-15
rifle to 21. We need a waiting period for those rifles.
We need red flag laws and consequences for those who abuse them. These are reasonable, practical, tactical regulations to our nation, states,
communities, schools and homes.
MCCONAUGHEY: Responsible gun owners are fed up with the Second Amendment being abused and hijacked by some deranged individuals. These regulations
are not a step back. They are a step forward for a civil society and -- and -- the Second Amendment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The Hollywood star is from Uvalde, Texas, where, of course, 19 children and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting last month.
McConaughey spent most of the past week with families of the victims.
Among the survivors of that horrific shooting in Uvalde is an 11-year old who spoke to CNN about her ordeal recently. Miah Cerrillo described, in
chilling detail, about how she smeared herself with her friend's blood and played dead. She and others directly impacted by gun violence are talking
to U.S. lawmakers about the lives lost.
That is this morning, on the Hill. The hearings got underway just a short time ago. CNN congressional reporter Daniella Diaz is monitoring those
You've just seen some of the opening statements there. Tell us a little more, if you would, about the survivors and relatives of victims, who we
will hear testify today in Congress.
DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, this is incredibly notable. We'll be hearing directly from that 11-year old you just
mentioned, who survived that horrific Uvalde shooting, smeared blood from her friend on her and played dead during this horrific shooting that left
That is how she survived. She's actually going to give video testimony during this hearing moments from now. Her father is introducing her.
Other than her, there will also be Felix and Kimberly Rubio, the parents of Lexi, a 10-year-old victim of the shooting. They plan to plead to
lawmakers, directly to Republicans, who don't support some of these measures that Democrats want to push on gun safety reform.
They want to plead that they try to ban AR-15s. They do not understand why this weapon is sold in the U.S., how this weapon was able to get in the
hands of an 18-year old who shot up this elementary school just two weeks ago.
We'll hear from directly from them as well. Really what they want is to turn Republicans' minds and convince them to support gun safety reform here
on Capitol Hill because it is Republicans who remain the obstacle for trying to pass any sort of gun safety reform.
ANDERSON: The House committee hearing testimony on gun violence. Thank you for your reporting there.
Witnesses include survivors and family members of victims from the mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo. We'll get back to hear that witness
statement and testimony just soon as that starts.
An unmitigated disaster for American diplomacy and its own hemisphere and a national embarrassment. That is how a former Obama official describes the
Summit of the Americans underway in Los Angeles. U.S. President Joe Biden heads there next hour but there are some big no shows.
There's exasperation mounting over the Biden administration's handling of the event and its perceived lack of attention to Central America. Mexico's
president boycotting the summit because Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela were not invited.
Other heads of state are also staying away, including the leaders of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, all countries Vice President Kamala
Harris is working with to stem the massive numbers of migrants flocking to the U.S. border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am pleased to announce that, since the launch of our call to action last year, we
together have generated more than $3.2 billion of investment in the region.
HARRIS: And when we provide economic opportunity for people in Central America, we address an important driver of migration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Even so, a migrant caravan of over 2,000 people is heading toward the U.S. from southern Mexico right now. That is according to the
United Nations. CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak joins us now talk about all of this.
That caravan likely organized to happen at the time of this summit. The U.S. doesn't get to host a summit like this very often. The Biden
administration is downplaying these absences. But there is enough people, both inside and outside of the administration, suggesting this is a big
How do we get to this point?
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think that one of the biggest issues is that this is all that anyone is talking about is who is
not coming to this summit.
LIPTAK: As you said, these summits are really about the symbolism, the convening of hemispheric leaders here in Los Angeles, really reasserting
the U.S.' commitment to focus on this region after it had been largely ignored under president Trump.
What President Biden wants to do is sort of show that he was committed to this. They have been planning the summit for at least a year. They
identified Los Angeles as the venue in January.
It really had been in the last several months or so that you did start to see these cracks emerging among countries in the region because the United
States said it would not invite the leaders of those autocratic nations.
The U.S. sort of refused to say whether they would invite lower level representatives or other kinds of representative from those governments. So
this sort of drama, soap opera played out really up until the week that summit started.
Finally, on Monday, when the Mexican president said he would not attend and those other leftist leaning countries in Central America, the Northern
Triangle followed suit, it became sort of the story that has overshadowed what President Biden really wants to be doing here, which is to focus on
some very serious issues, whether it's migration, trying to bolster supply chains.
These are all issues that have a huge effect in the United States, on his political standing as well. It is an issue that, coming into the summit,
the president will depart later this morning. That is the main headline that is dominating here.
ANDERSON: Kamala Harris could not have worked harder. The months that she has spent during this administration in working with the Americas on the
issue of migration, talking about how the issue starts.
As you rightly point out, critics say this reinforces an impression the region is not a priority for the Biden administration. I wonder how fair
We also know how China is walking into what is a perceived gap left by the States. If the States hasn't got its eye focused on the region, which is
another issue. I just wonder -- I'm going to leave it there. we thank you very much.
I do want to get back to the House committee hearing the testimony on gun violence. Witnesses include survivors and family members of the victims
from mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo. Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
ZENETA EVERHART, MOTHER OF GUNSHOT SURVIVOR: -- employee in a historically Black community on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, New York. Zaire, the kid,
is now a 21-year-old man. He is pure joy, he is everything that is good in this world.
As I sit here before you today, I can hear my son telling me to stop being extra and get to the point. I was going to tell you all a bunch of fluffy,
funny stories about Zaire but I have a message. So I'll get to the point.
As director of diversity and inclusion with New York state senator Tom Penny's office, stories of gun violence and racism are all too familiar.
But now, these stories are Zaire stories. These problems literally knocked on my front door. These are issues that, as a country, we do not like to
Domestic terrorism exist in this country for three reasons: America is inherently violent; this is who we are as a nation. The very existence of
this country was founded on violence, hate and racism, with the near annihilation of my native brothers and sisters.
My ancestors brought to America, through the slave trade, were the first currency of America. Let me say that again, for the people in the back. My
ancestors, the first currency of America, were stripped of their heritage and culture, separated from their families, bargained for on auction
blocks, sold, beaten, raped and lynched.
Yet, I continuously hear, after every mass shooting, that this is not who we are as Americans and as a nation.
Hear me clearly. This is exactly who we are. Education: the majority of what I have learned about African American history I did not learn until I
went to college. And I had to choose those classes.
Why is that?
Why is African American history not a part of American history?
African Americans built this country from the ground up. My ancestors' blood is embedded in the soil. We have to change the curriculum in schools
across the country so that we may adequately educate our children. Reading about history is crucial to the future of this country.
Learning about other cultures, ethnicities and religions in school should not be something that is up for debate. We cannot continue to whitewash
education, creating generations of children to believe that one race of people are better than the other. Our differences should make us curious,
EVERHART: At the end of the day I bleed, you bleed, we are all human. That awful day that will now be a part of the history books, hopefully. Let us
not forget to add what we teach our children.
Guns: the 18-year-old terrorist who stormed into my community, armed with an AR-15, killing 10 people and injuring three others, received a shotgun
from his parents for his 16th birthday. For Zaire's 15th birthday, I bought him a few video games, some headphones, a pizza and a cake. We are not the
How and why?
And what in the world is wrong with this country?
Children should not be armed with weapons. Parents who provide their children with guns should be held accountable. Lawmakers who continuously
allow these mass shootings to continue by not passing stricter gun laws should be voted out.
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.
Common sense gun laws are not about your personal feelings or beliefs. You are elected because you have been chosen and are trusted to protect us. But
let me say to you here today, I do not feel protected.
No citizen needs an AR-15. These weapons are designed to do the most harm in the least amount of time. And on Saturday, May 14th, it took a domestic
terrorist just two minutes to shoot and kill 10 people and injure three others.
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.
To the families of Ruth Whitfield, Pearl Young, Katherine Massey, Heyward Patterson, Celestine Chaney, Geraldine Talley, Aaron Salter, Andre
Mackneil, Margus Morrison and Roberta Drury, I promise that their deaths will not be in vain. Zaire and I promise to use our voice to lift their
names and we will carry their spirit with us as we embark on this journey to create change.
I know that their collective souls watched out for Zaire that day and I am eternally grateful to them for that.
To the east side of Buffalo, I love you. I am speaking directly to my people, to my hood, from Bailey to Broadway, to Kensington to Fillmore to
Delevan, to Jefferson and every street in between, just like the potholes that we want filled in, yes, I keep it real, together we will continue to
fill those streets with love.
No matter what people say about the east side of Buffalo, we will not be broken. I was born there and raised there. I raised my son there. I still
live there and I do the majority of my professional work on the east side of Buffalo.
I vow to you today that everywhere I go, I will make sure that the people hear the real stories of our people. For too long, our community has been
neglected and starved of the resources that we so greatly need. I promise I will not stop pushing for more resources to be funneled into the east side
Each and every person that lives within that community, we are family. Not a perfect community but I know that we are love.
To the greater Buffalo area, to everyone from around the country and the world who have reached out and loved on us, on behalf of Zaire, Zaire's
father, Damien Goodman, my mother, my father, my sisters, my brothers and myself, we thank you.
We thank you for all of your thoughts and your prayers. Thank you for all of the love and support you have shown us during this difficult time. But I
also say to you today, with a heart full from the outpouring of love that you also freely gave us, your thoughts and prayers are not enough.
We need you to stand with us in the days, weeks, months and years to come and be ready to go to work and help us to create the change that this
country so desperately needs.
And I will end with a quote. From Charles Bloom in his book, "The Devil We Know,"
EVERHART: "Race as we have come to understand it is a fiction. But racism as we have come to live it is a fact."
The point here is not to impose a new racial hierarchy but to remove an existing one. After centuries of waiting for white majorities to overturn
white supremacy, it is, to me, that it has fallen to Black people to do it themselves. And I stand at the ready.
Zaire, this is for you, kid, happy birthday.
MALONEY: Thank you.
Dr. Guerrero, you are now recognized for your testimony.
DR. ROY GUERRERO, PEDIATRICIAN: Thank you. Thank you, Chairwoman.
My name is Dr. Roy Guerrero. I'm a board certified pediatrician and was president of Uvalde Memorial Hospital. The day of a massacre on May 24,
2022, at Robb Elementary School, I was called here today as a witness but I showed up because I am a doctor, because how many years ago I swore an
oath, an oath to do no harm.
After witnessing firsthand the carnage in my hometown of Uvalde, to stay silent would have betrayed that oath. Inaction is harm. Passivity is harm.
Delay is harm. So here I am, not to plead, not to beg or convince you of anything but to do my job and hope that, by doing so, it inspires the
members of this house to do theirs.
I have lived in Uvalde my whole life. In fact, I attended Robb Elementary School myself as a kid. As is often the case with us grownups, we remember
a lot of the good and not much of the bad. So I do not recall homework or detention. I remember how much I loved going to school, what a joyful time
Back then people could run between classrooms with ease to visit our friends. And I remember the way the cafeteria smelled at lunchtime on
It was right around lunchtime on a Tuesday that that gunman entered the school through a main door without restriction, massacred 19 students and
two teachers and changed the way that every student at Robb and their family remember that school forever.
I doubt they'll remember the smell of the cafeteria or the laughter ringing in the hallways. Instead they'll be haunted by the memory of screams and
bloodshed, panic and chaos, police shouting, parents wailing.
I know I will never forget what I saw that day. For me that day started like any typical Tuesday in our pediatric clinic. Moms calling for coughs,
boogers, sports physicals, right before the summer rush.
School was out in two days. Then summer camps would guarantee some grazes and some ankle sprains, injuries that could be patched up and fixed with a
Mickey Mouse sticker as a reward.
Then, at 12:30, business as usual stopped and, with it, my heart. Our colleague from a San Antonio trauma center texted me and said, "Why are
pediatric surgeons and anesthesiologists on call for a mass shooting in Uvalde?"
I raced to the hospital to find parents outside yelling children's names in desperation and sobbing as they begged for any news related to their child.
Those mothers' cries I will never get out of my head.
As I entered the chaos of the ER, the first casualty I came across was Miah Cerrillo. She was sitting in the hallway. Her face was still, still clearly
in shock, but her whole body shaking from the adrenaline coursing through it.
The white Lilo & Stitch shirt that she wore was covered in blood and her shoulder was bleeding from a shrapnel injury. Sweet Miah, I have known her
my whole life. As a baby, she survived major liver surgeries against all odds. And once again she is here, as a survivor, inspiring us with her
story today and her bravery.
When I saw Miah, sitting there, I remembered having seen her parents outside. So after quickly examining two other patients of mine in the
hallway with minor injuries, I raced outside to let them know that Miah was alive. I wasn't ready for their next urgent and desperate question.
"Where is Elena?"
Elena is Miah's 8-year-old sister, who was also at Robb at the time of the shooting. 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.
As I made my way there, I prayed that I would not find her. I did not find Elena. But what I did find was something no prayer would ever relieve, two
children, whose bodies had been pulverized by bullets fired at them, decapitated; whose flesh had been ripped apart.
But the only clue to their identities was the blood spattered cartoon clothes still clinging to them, clinging for life and finding none. I could
only hope these two bodies were a tragic exception to the list of survivors.
But as I waited there with my fellow Uvalde doctors, nurses, first responders and hospital staff for other casualties we hoped to save, they
never arrived. All that remained was the bodies of 17 more children and the two teachers who cared for them, who dedicated their careers to nurturing
and respecting the awesome potential in every single one, just as we doctors do.
GUERRERO: I will tell you why I became a pediatrician because I knew that children were the best patients. They accept the situation as it is
explained them. You do not have to coax them into changing their lifestyles in order to get better or plead them to modify their behavior as you do
No matter how hard you try to help an adult, their path to healing is always determined by how willing they are to take action. Adults are
stubborn. We are resistant to change, even when the change will make things better for ourselves but especially when we think we are immune to the
Why else would have been such little progress made in Congress to stop gun violence?
Innocent children all over the country today are dead because laws and policy allows people to buy weapons before they are legally old enough to
even buy a pack of beer.
They are dead because restrictions have been allowed to lapse. They are dead because there are no rules about where guns are kept, because no one
is paying attention to who is buying them.
The thing I cannot figure out is whether our politicians are failing us out of stubbornness, passivity or both. I said before that, as grownups we have
a communion (ph) habit of remembering the good and forgetting the bad, never more so than when it comes to our guns.
Once the blood is rinsed away from the bodies of our loved ones and scrubbed off the floors of the schools and supermarkets and churches, the
carnage that we have seen is erased from our collective conscience and we return again to nostalgia; to the rose-tinted view of our Second Amendment
as a perfect instrument of American life, no matter how many lives are lost.
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 is the job of our politicians and leaders. In this case, you are the doctors and our country
is a patient. We are lying on the operating table, riddled with bullets, like the children of Robb Elementary and so many other schools. We are
bleeding out and you are not there.
My oath as a doctor means that I signed up to save lives. I do my job and I guess it turns out that I am here to plead, to beg, to please, please do
MALONEY: Thank you.
We will now play the video from Miah.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Playing Miah Cerrillo, (INAUDIBLE) at (INAUDIBLE).
MIAH CERRILLO, ROBB ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE). And he was in the hallway and (INAUDIBLE) go out the door and
he was in the hallway.
And then (INAUDIBLE) and then she went to the back of the room to (INAUDIBLE) and then we went to go and hide behind the teacher's desk and
behind the backpacks. Then he shot a little window. And then he went to the other classroom.
And then he went -- there is a door between our classrooms. And he went through there and shot my teacher and killed my teacher (INAUDIBLE) shot in
the head. And then he shot some of my classmates and the white board. When I went to the backpacks, he shot my friend that was next to me.
And I thought he would come back to the room. So I grabbed a little blood and I put it all on me. And ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you do when you put the blood on yourself?
MIAH CERRILLO: Just stayed quiet. And then I got my teacher's phone and called 9-1-1.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you tell 9-1-1?
MIAH CERRILLO: I told her that we needed help and to say the police we are in our classroom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there was something that you want people to know about that day and about you or things that you want different, what would
MIAH CERRILLO: To (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel safe at school?
MIAH CERRILLO: Because I don't want it to happen again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it's going to happen again?
MALONEY: Mr. Cerrillo, you're now recognized.
MIGUEL CERRILLO, MIAH'S FATHER: Hello, hello today. I play with -- playing around with and do everything because she was daddy's little girl. I have
five kids and she's the middle child. I don't know what to do because I think I would have lost my baby girl.
My baby girl is the world because she not only once but twice she came back to us. She is everything not only for me but her siblings and her mother. I
thank you all for letting me be here and speak out. But I wish something would change, not only for our kids but every single kid in the world
because their schools are not safe anymore.
Something needs to really change. Thank you.
MALONEY: Thank you for your testimony and I understand you are now leaving. We thank you for sharing your story. Thank you.
And Mr. and Ms. Rubio, you are now recognized for your testimony.
KIMBERLY MATA-RUBIO, LEXI'S MOTHER: I am Kimberly Rubio. This is Felix Rubio. We are the parents of Alexandria Aniyah, best known as Lexi Rubio,
and five other children, who all attended Uvalde Public Schools in the 2021-2022 school year: Kalisa, who completed high school this year;
Isaiah, who attends Uvalde High School; David, Morales (ph) Junior High; Jahleela, Flores (ph) Elementary, and our two youngest children, Julian, 8,
and Lexi, 10, who went to Robb Elementary.
On the morning of May 24th, 2022, I dropped Lexi and Julian off at school a little after 7 am. My husband and I returned to the campus at 8 am for
Julian's awards ceremony and again at 10:30 am for Lexi's awards ceremony.
Lexi received the Good Citizen Award and was also recognized for receiving all As. At the conclusion of the ceremony we took photos with her before
asking her to pose for a picture with her teacher, Mr. Riggs (ph).
That photo, her last photo ever, was taken at approximately 10:54 am. To celebrate, we promised to get her ice cream that evening. I told her we
loved her and we would pick her up after school.
I can still see her walking with us toward the exit. In the reel that keeps scrolling across my memories, she turns her head and smiles back at us to
acknowledge my promise and then we left.
I left my daughter at that school and that decision will haunt me for the rest of my life. Afterward, Felix dropped me off at my office, the "Uvalde
Leader-News" and returned home because it was a rare day off for him between normal shifts and security gigs he takes to help make ends meet.
I got situated at my desk and began writing about a new business in town, when the news office started hearing commotion on the police scanner, a
shooting on Diaz Street near Robb Elementary.
It was not long before we received word from my son's teacher that they were safe, secure in a classroom. Once evacuated from campus, the children
were reunited with parents and guardians at the civic center. My dad picked up Julian from the civic center and took him to my grandmother's house.
One of our Robb kids was safe. We focused on finding Lexi. Bus after bus arrived but she wasn't on board. We heard there were children at the local
hospital so we drove around to provide her description. She wasn't there.
My dad drove 1.5 hours to San Antonio to check with the university hospital. At this point, some part of me must have realized that she was
gone. In the midst of chaos I had the urge to remove to Robb.
We didn't have a car at this point and traffic was everywhere. So I ran. I ran barefoot with my flimsy sandals in my hand. I ran a mile to the school,
my husband with me.
RUBIO: We sat outside for a while before it became clear that we wouldn't receive an answer from law enforcement on the scene. A San Antonio
firefighter eventually gave us a ride back to the civic center, where the district was asking all families who had not been reunited with their
children to gather.
Soon after, we received the news that our daughter was among the 19 students and two teachers that died as a result of gun violence.
We don't want you to think of Lexi as just a number. She was intelligent, compassionate and athletic. She was quiet, shy unless she had a point to
make but when she knew she was right, as she so often was, stood her ground. She was firm, direct, voice unwavering. So today we stand for Lexi
and, as her voice, we demand action. We seek a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. We understand that, for some reason, to some
people, to people with money, to people who fund political campaigns, that guns are more important than children.
So at this moment, we ask for progress. We seek to raise the age to purchase these weapons from 18 to 21 years of age. We seek red flag laws,
stronger background checks. We also want to repeal gun manufacturers' liability immunity.
You have all seen glimpses of who Lexi was. But I also want to tell you a little bit about who she would have been. If given the opportunity, Lexi
would have made a positive change in this world.
She wanted to attend Saint Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas, on a softball scholarship. She wanted to major in math and go on to attend law
school. That opportunity was taken from her. She was taken from us.
I am a reporter, a student, a mom, a runner. I have read to my children since they were in the womb. My husband is a law enforcement officer, an
Iraq War veteran. He loves fishing and our babies.
Somewhere out there, there is a mom, listening to our testimony, thinking I can't even imagine their pain, not knowing that our reality will one day
be hers unless we act now.
Thank you for your time.
MALONEY: Thank you for your testimony.
Ms. Hughes, you are now recognized for your testimony.
LUCRETIA HUGHES, DC PROJECT AND WOMEN FOR GUN RIGHTS: Honorable Chairwoman Maloney, Ranking Member Comer, distinguished members of the committee,
thank you for allowing me to be here today to address the violence in our country.
My name is Lucretia Hughes Klucken. I have four children and nine grandchildren. On the night of April the 2nd, 2016, my family got a phone
call that would change our lives forever.
My ex-husband answered the phone and let out a blood-curdling scream, a scream of pain from the depths of his soul. He screamed, he cried, "He is
gone. He is gone."
Our 19-year-old son, Emmanuel, went to a party early that night. After we got the call, we was frantic. We called his phone and no one answered. We
called even the police. I went to Facebook and I had to ask, "Is my son dead?"
I found out that he was shot point blank in the head and killed while playing dominoes. No one spoke up for weeks and the killer was on the run.
No one was going to snitch. But that is the street life.
Words can't describe how hard it is to bury a child. I ache for anyone and all who have done the same. My son death was the result of a criminal with
an evil heart and a justice system failing to hold him accountable for the laws he had already broken.
You see, a convicted felon killed my son with an illegally obtained gun. Our gun control lobbyists and politicians claimed that their policies will
save lives and reduce violence. Well, those policies did not save my son. The laws being discussed are already implemented.
HUGHES: In cities across this country, we have decades of evidence proving they do not work. St. Louis, New York, Chicago, Washington, Atlanta, our
gun control utopias and they are plagued with the most violence.
Ten more laws, 20 more laws, a 1000 more won't make what is already illegal more wrong or stop criminals from committing these crimes. And y'all are
delusional if you think it's going to keep us safe.
I am a walking testimony of how the criminal justice system and the gun control laws, which are steeped in racism, by the way, have failed the
Black community. By the age of 25, I had already went to 18 young Black men's funerals, at the age of 25.
I have one Black man in jail, one Black man in the grave and my young grandson going to be raised without a father. And it's a curse on the Black
community and everyone else's. Something has to change. Thoughts and prayers and calls for more gun control isn't enough.
How about letting me defend myself from evil?
I -- you don't think that I'm capable and trustworthy to handle a firearm?
You don't think that the Second Amendment doesn't apply to people that look like me?
Who -- and you, who have called for more gun controls, are the same ones that are calling to defund the police?
Who is supposed to protect us?
We must prepare to be our own first responders, to protect ourselves and our loved ones. I am a legal, law-abiding citizen and I don't need the
government to save me. I teach people how to use a firearm. I empower others to look at me, to understand the Second Amendment is their right.
I am a proud member of the D.C. Project Women for Gun Rights. We believe that education is the key to safety, not ineffective legislation. We
support meaningful solutions that will actually save lives.
We support the Safe Students Act, H.R. 7415, which would immediately make schools safer. In hindsight, of Parkland, we saw failure of the government
at every level failing the students. Students saw something and they said something. And the school did not act.
Police were called to his residence over 30 times and they did not act. And finally, the police did not go into their school that fateful day and
failed to protect those kids. We need to secure our schools and we've got to secure this building or like y'all do.
What's the difference?
We call on Congress to ban gun free zones, fund nonpartisan firearm education programs like Kids Safe Foundation and non governmental mental
health organizations like Hold My Guns.
And in closing, I claim that nothing in these bills do anything to make us safer or address the mental health crisis in this country. Despite living
with the heartache of losing my son on a daily basis, I believe it is our God given right to defend ourselves from any act of violence.
Making it more difficult or even more expensive for me and people that look like me and other law-abiding citizens will not make us safer. It will
embolden the criminals. Gun owners are not the enemies and these gun control policies are not the solution. Thank you, thank you.
MALONEY: Thank you, thank you all for your powerful and meaningful and gutwrenching testimony. We will now pause. You are excused.