Wednesday’s hearing will provide a high-profile platform for Cerrillo and others directly impacted by gun violence to tell their harrowing stories to the American public. It is rare for Congress to hear testimony from someone as young as Cerrillo on a subject as sensitive and disturbing as gun violence.
Congressional Democrats have been pressing for action, and calling for stricter gun control, in the wake of the mass shootings. A bipartisan group of senators are in talks to see if they can find common ground on some kind of legislation in response to the tragedies, but it remains to be seen what the negotiations will amount to in the highly polarized political climate.
Here’s what to know about Wednesday’s hearing:
What to expect and key witnesses
Among a number of other witnesses, the panel is also expected to hear from Joseph Gramaglia, the Buffalo police commissioner, and Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician from Uvalde.
What we know about key witnesses testifying
She said bullets had flown by her, and fragments hit her shoulders and head. Cerrillo said she had been afraid that the gunman would return to her classroom to kill her and a few other surviving friends. So she dipped her hands in the blood of a classmate — who lay next to her, already dead — and smeared the blood all over herself to play dead.
Cerrillo’s mother said her daughter is traumatized and can’t sleep. The child’s parents have started a GoFundMe to pay for her therapy.
“This is enough,” he said. “No one else needs to go through this. We never needed to go through this, but we are.”
Goodman had called Everhart from the supermarket parking lot and told her he had been shot while helping an older woman with her shopping cart or groceries. He was shot in his lower neck, his mother said.
“The doctor told me that it was one of those bullets that when it goes into you it shatters. It explodes,” she said. “So Zaire has been left with shrapnel inside of him that they said will probably, eventually, come out of his skin at some point, but that he would do more harm to do surgery to remove it, so they don’t want to do that.”
What Congress is considering related to gun control
A bipartisan group of senators are engaged in talks to see if common ground on gun legislation can be found in the aftermath of the horrific shootings.
While Democrats have a majority in the Senate, they control only 50 seats, and would need at least 10 Republicans to join them to advance any kind of gun bill.
As a result, only legislation with bipartisan buy-in stands any chance of succeeding. It will be difficult to pass any kind of measure, however, given widespread opposition to gun control from Republicans and how polarizing the issue of guns is in Congress.
Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the lead GOP negotiator in the bipartisan talks, recently discussed the broad contours of what he believes could be agreed to in a potential deal on gun legislation.
“We’re talking about common-sense targeted reforms that are responsive to the tragedies in Uvalde and elsewhere, and that will I believe save lives,” he said, going on to say, “Strengthening mental health, bolstering school security, keeping guns out of the hands of people who are already legally prohibited from having them. I think a lot of our colleagues could get behind those provisions.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, provided an update on the timeline for the n negotiations on Tuesday, saying Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut has told him he is hopeful there will be an agreement by the end of the week.
CNN’s Nora Neus, Jason Carroll and Alisha Ebrahimji contributed to this report.