Families Of The Uvalde Shooting Victims Are Camping Outside The School District's Office Demanding Action

"We did everything how they wanted to and nothing was done, so now we're doing it our way. I guarantee I'm a lot more stubborn than they are."

Stuffed animals, flowers, wreaths, and other decorations sit among crosses with victims' names on them

Brett Cross has been camping outside the school district administrative office in Uvalde, Texas, for 78 hours.

On May 24, Cross's 10-year-old son, Uziyah Garcia, died in the mass shooting that killed 18 other children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The police response during the shooting has been called an "abject failure." Nearly 400 officers were on scene while children were shot or called 911 begging for help in their classrooms. Since that day, Cross and other victims' family members have been fighting to hold those involved accountable.

Right now, he is focusing on getting the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police officers who were working on May 24 suspended while they are under investigation. According to an investigation by Texas legislators released in July, there was a “void of leadership” among police that day, especially from Uvalde schools Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who has since been fired.

Since Cross and others started camping out, the school district has started putting up fences to keep others from joining them.

Uvalde UCISD is setting up a traffic gate to keep people out of where we are. They’d rather spend time and money doing shit like this than to hold their officers accountable.

Twitter: @BCross052422

"It doesn't matter to me," Cross told BuzzFeed News on Friday. "It was 18 weeks ago when I started this. Eighteen weeks that we played ball. We went to the meetings. We did everything how they wanted to and nothing was done, so now we're doing it our way. I guarantee I'm a lot more stubborn than they are."

UCISD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cross has been documenting his time camping outside on Twitter, and on Thursday, he went live to broadcast his meeting with Hal Harrell, UCISD superintendent. During the meeting, Harrell told him that the UCISD police officers can't be suspended because they are needed on campus despite the school district hiring extra DPS officers to monitor the campuses.

Twitter: @BCross052422

"My understanding is the work that the campus officers do is different than what DPS is willing to do at this point," Harrell told Cross.

During the meeting, Cross told Harrell that the school district failed him and other parents. Later, after Harrell asked Cross what else he needed because Harrell only had three minutes left to talk, Cross asked if he would like to see his son's casket and body.

"You didn't have to," Cross said. "I had to have a funeral for my son. You don't come back from that. My son is dead because of the inactions of your school district, of the city, of all the police involved, starting with the school to the city to the state, they all failed. They all failed. If you're sorry, do something."

Cross told BuzzFeed News that he wasn't shocked by how the meeting went.

"I knew it was going to be bullshit," he said. "The world needs to see it."

He and his family live only a few blocks from the school district's administrative office, and he said every day is a reminder of what happened on May 24. The thought of moving out of Uvalde has crossed his mind, but he said he wants to stay to hold everyone accountable and make sure the school district's police officers are suspended.

"We have to see these officers," he said. "My kids know that they waited outside of the classroom while their brother was murdered. And it's not right."

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