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Uvalde families continue camping out at district office as they demand suspensions for officers


(UVALDE, Texas) — The Uvalde school district superintendent met Thursday with the guardian of a student killed in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, after family members of victims and their supporters camped out for almost two days in front the district’s administrative building.

Brett and Nikki Cross, guardians of 10-year-old Uziyah Garcia, arrived at the school district offices at 7 a.m. Tuesday and have not left since.

“We’ve given them 18 weeks to do something, so now we’re not begging anymore—we’re demanding,” Brett Cross told ABC News earlier in the week. “I’m not leaving until they get this done.”

The Crosses, among other families who joined in protest throughout the week, want Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police officers who were present at the shooting to be suspended, pending an investigation, for their actions and alleged inaction on May 24 when 19 children and two adults were killed.

Superintendent Hal Harrell met with Brett Cross on Thursday morning in his office, after almost 48 straight hours of protest on the property.

Harrell offered to meet privately with the Crosses on Tuesday, but they declined, citing that they wanted to meet in a public setting.

The Crosses claim that they have been trying to set up a meeting with Harrell since July.

“It’s kind of shameful that it has taken this much,” Brett Cross said when he finally sat down with Harrell Thursday morning, streaming live on Twitter. “You’re not being transparent.”

When asked why UCISD officers who were present at Robb Elementary have not been suspended, Harrell said, “We are doing an investigation, but I need those officers [for campus patrol].”

“My son is dead because of the inactions of your school district, of the city, of all the police involved,” Cross responded. “They all failed.”

“It did not come to my expectations,” Harrell told Cross in the livestream. “There was failure that day, there absolutely was.”

Uvalde parents accuse officers of misleading families on the day of the shooting in an apparent attempt at crowd control.

“We had [officers] lying to us. ‘Nobody’s shooting, everyone’s okay, trust us we have kids,"” Angel Garza, stepfather to victim 9-year-old Amerie Jo Garza, said in recent testimony to the Congressional Children’s Caucus.

Several fathers, including Cross, said they were physically held back by officers and even handcuffed to prevent them from running into the school to rescue their children.

“I could hear gunshots and the screams from inside, our babies screaming,” Javier Cazares, father to 10-year-old victim Jacklyn Cazares and who protested outside with the Crosses, has told ABC News. “Anyone who was there that day could hear.”

According to UCISD spokesperson Anne Marie Espinoza, the school district has hired JPPI Investigations, a private investigative firm, to conduct an independent review of UCISD police actions on May 24.

“At this time, we do not have an expected completion date for the reviews,” she said in an emailed statement to ABC News.

Former UCISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo was terminated in August, and has threatened legal action against the school board, calling his termination an “illegal and unconstitutional public lynching” in a statement from his attorney.

Arredondo has been the only UCISD officer fired or suspended following the shooting.

The Crosses and several other victims’ families, alongside a growing crowd of supporters, said they will continue to camp out at the administration building.

“I’m not leaving until those officers are suspended,” Brett Cross told ABC News.

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