The Uvalde School district has suspended their entire police department in the wake of law enforcement's botched response to the May 24 shooting inside Robb Elementary School.
The school district’s decision comes after TODAY Parents reported on Brett Cross, the father of a 10-year-old victim who had been protesting outside the administration building for 245 hours, demanding that the officers who responded to the shooting be suspended.
“We did it! And we are going home!” the father tweeted.
245 hr update!!! We did it! And we are going home! pic.twitter.com/by9hJOLKRf
— Brett Cross (@BCross052422) October 7, 2022
Cross is the father of Uziyah Garcia, who was gunned down inside his fourth grade class along with 18 of his classmates and two teachers. He had been protesting outside the district administration building for more than 10 straight days.
A CNN report revealed this week that the Uvalde school district had hired an officer to patrol local schools despite the fact she was under investigation for her actions, or inaction, during the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Less than 24 hours after that report, she was fired.
Then, on Oct. 7, the district announced it had "made the decision to suspend all activities of the Uvalde CISD Police Department for a period of time," via a written statement.
The statement said that decisions about the police who patrol the schools were pending until the conclusion of an investigation, but "recent developments have uncovered additional concerns with department operations."
On May 24, a gunman opened fire inside two fourth grade classes inside Robb Elementary School, killing 19 students and two teachers. Law enforcement officers waited over an hour before confronting the gunman. A report issued by a Texas state House Committee cited “systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making.”
While testifying in front of a special State Senate committee, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw described law enforcement’s response as an “abject failure,” adding that nothing stood between the gunman and officers but the “on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.”
A day before the district's decision to suspend the entire police department, Cross spoke to TODAY Parents via phone from his encampment. Hours earlier, CNN reported that a former DPS officer, Crimson Elizondo, was under investigation for her response to the May 24 but hired by the Uvalde school district to protect students anyway.
Elizondo can be heard on recorded audio obtained by CNN telling other officers on the scene, “If my son had been in there, I would not have been outside. I promise you that.”
"There's a lot of emotions running through me: I'm enraged that that they knowingly hired this officer," Cross told TODAY Parents at the time. "She was there within two minutes and openly said that if her kids were in there, she wouldn't have been outside. It just goes to show the lack of care — our kids didn't mean anything. As a parent, you don't just stop with your kids. You protect all children."
The district says in its written statement that it will "continue to engage with the Texas Police Chiefs Association," which is conducting a review of law enforcement management, adding that the results will "guide the rebuilding of the department and the hiring of a new Chief of Police."
Cross lives just two blocks away from school district building's sidewalk he's called home for nearly 11 days. While he is now going home — this fight finished — he told TODAY his efforts are only just beginning.
"We have to continue. Nothing I say or do will bring my son back, but if I can help prevent this from happening to anybody else I will," Cross said. "They messed with the wrong parents."
This article was originally published on TODAY.com