Kimberly Rubio spoke, through tears, about the last time she saw her 10-year-old daughter on May 24. That morning, the school held award ceremonies for students, and Lexi received the "Good Citizen Award" and was recognized for earning all A's in her classes.
There's 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.
"At the conclusion of the ceremony, we took photos with her before asking her to pose for a picture with her teacher, Mr. Reyes. That photo, her last photo ever, was taken at approximately 10:54 a.m.," Rubio said, sitting next to her husband, Lexi's father. "To celebrate, we promised to get her ice cream that evening. We told her we loved her and we would pick her up after school. I can still see her walking with us towards 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,” Rubio, a mother of six, said, crying. “I left my daughter at that school, and that decision will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Rubio said that she was at her job at the Uvalde Leader News when reports of the shooting came in over the office's police scanner. She was able to confirm that her son Julian, also a student at Robb Elementary, was safe.
"We focused on finding Lexi. Bus after bus arrived (at the reunification center) but she wasn't on board. We heard there were children at the local hospital so we drove over to provide her description. She wasn't there," Rubio said. "My dad drove over an hour and a half to San Antonio to check with the university hospital. At this point, some part of me must have realized that she was gone."
Rubio said that she and her husband attempted to drive back to Robb Elementary, but there was too much traffic.
"I ran. I ran barefoot, my flimsy sandals in my hands," Rubio said. "I ran a mile to the school, my husband with me."
Rubio said that she and her husband waited outside the school until they were told to return to the building that had been designated a reunification center. There, she and her husband found out that their 10-year-old daughter was among the 21 killed.
Rubio pled with the committee to remember her daughter as more than "just a number."
"She was intelligent, compassionate, athletic. She was quiet, shy unless she had a point to make ... She was firm, unwavering," Rubio said. "So today, we stand for Lexi, and as her voice we demand action."
Rubio then asked the committee to consider several gun control policies, including an assault rifle ban, federal red flag laws and stronger background checks.
Rubio ended her emotional testimony with a "glimpse" of "who (Lexi) would have been" had her life not been cut short in her fourth-grade classroom.
"Given the opportunity, Lexi would have made a positive change in this world. She wanted to attend St. 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," Rubio said. "She was taken from us."
"I'm a reporter, a student, a mom, a runner. I've read to my children since they were in the womb. My husband is a law enforcement officer, an Iraq war veteran and loves fishing and our babies," Rubio continued. "Somewhere out there, there's 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."