When gunfire rang out in a Walmart parking lot, 10-year-old Aaliyah Inghram knew what she had to do.
"It was really scary," she told Fox5, "but I just thought, 'I have to save the baby.' "
The girl was inside her mom's car at a Walmart parking lot when the bullets started to fly, according to The Las Vegas Review-Journal. A bullet struck the girl's mother, Samantha Tygrit, she told the newspaper. The mom managed to get her 4-year-old daughter safely to the ground.
Tygrit told the Review-Journal that she then turned to protect the rest of the children, only to discover Aaliyah had been shot while shielding her 18-month-old brother and 15-month-old nephew.
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That bullet — which lodged itself in the girl's rear after passing through her mom — would have likely struck the helpless baby, the mom told Fox5.
"My first reaction was to get out, her's was to jump on her baby brother," Tygrit said in an interview with the TV station. "She jumped on his car seat when I told her to get on the ground.
"If she hadn't done that a bullet would have hit him in the midsection."
Because of her actions, the girl was honored by the Clark County Commission on June 5, which officials named Aaliyah Ingraham Day. They also gave her a medal for her bravery.
"She's soft spoken and humble," the commission wrote, "but she's also a hero."
"Two men nearby got into an argument and then starting shooting at each other," it continued. "With bullets flying around them, Aaliyah stepped in front of her infant brother and cousin. She was wounded and will have to undergo surgery. But investigators say without her actions, her brother likely would have been hit by gunfire."
Wearing the medal around her neck, Aaliyah thanked the commission for its decision to honor her.
"I hope that my brother will be OK," she said, "and I really wanted him to stay alive, because he's so young."
The 10-year-old is set to have surgery later this month to remove the bullet, which is still lodged in her lower body, according to Fox5.
But Aaliyah's mother said she knows her children, who will go through trauma counseling, are strong enough to thrive after this event.
“We’ll figure it out,” she told the Review-Journal. “They’re really strong, and we have a lot of support.”