Parents of Uvalde student killed in shooting appear before Congress: ‘As her voice, we demand action’

Rubio family says that for some people, ‘guns are more important than children’

The parents of a 10-year-old girl who died in the Uvalde shooting appeared before Congress on Wednesday, demanding gun reform in the wake of the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade.

Through tears, Kimberly Rubio, the mother of Alexandria “Lexi,” listed possible solutions for America’s gun violence epidemic: expanding background checks, implementing red flags laws, raising the minimum age to purchase an AR-15-style rifle to 21 from 18, and holding gun manufacturers accountable.

They’re also seeking a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.

“We understand that for some reason, for some people, to people with money, to people who fund political campaigns, that guns are more important than children,” she said. “So at this moment, we ask for progress.”

Kimberly Rubio, who was sitting next to her husband Felix, an Iraq War veteran and Uvalde County Sheriff’s deputy, said they were speaking out because it’s what her Lexi would want.

She was intelligent, compassionate and athletic, her parents said, she was also quiet and shy “unless she had a point to make.”

“So today we stand for Lexi. And as her voice, we demand action,” Kimberly Rubio said.

The Rubios appeared before Congress on Wednesday to deliver wrenching testimony on the nation’s epidemic of gun violence.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform also heard in-person testimony from Dr. Roy Guerrero, Uvalde’s only pediatrician, and a recorded video from 11-year-old Miah Cerrilo, who covered herself in her classmate’s blood and played dead in order to survive. Nineteen students and two teachers died in the rampage at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

“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,” Kimberly Rubio said.

She told lawmakers that the morning of May 24 started off as a normal day, with excitement as her two children at Robb Elementary received end-of-year-awards.

Undated family photo of Lexi Rubio, who was killed in Tuesday's shooting in Uvalde, Texas. (Courtesy: Felix and Kimberly Rubio)

Felix and Kimberly Rubio were at the school that morning for each ceremony. After seeing Lexi receive a certificate for A honor roll and good citizenship, they promised they would buy her ice cream after school.

“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,” Kimberly Rubio said in her testimony.

Kimberly Rubio, a reporter, said she went back to work at the Uvalde Leader-News, where the office started hearing about a shooting near the elementary school.

Her son’s teacher texted her and said that they were safe, however, Lexi wasn’t at the reunification center.

Kimberly Rubio said they went back and forth from the center, the school and the hospital, even running a mile barefoot, to find out where Lexi was.

“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,” she said.

“I left my daughter at that school and that decision will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Kimberly Rubio added that Lexi wanted to attend St. Mary’s University in San Antonio on a softball scholarship. There, she wanted to major in mathematics and later attend law school.

“Given the opportunity, Lexi would have made a positive change in this world,” she said.

“That opportunity was taken from her. She was taken from us.”

WATCH: Congress hears from victims, parents of Robb Elementary and Uvalde’s only pediatrician

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Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.