Michelle Barrientes Vela: I was in 'shock' over FBI raid 'when I made the sheriff statement'

Constable makes first statement since county's decision to replace her

KSAT's Dillon Collier takes us through a recap of Michelle Barrientes Vela's tenure as Bexar County Pct. 2 constable.

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Pct. 2 Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela appeared to walk back her sheriff campaign announcement Saturday in her first public statement since the Bexar County Commissioners Court announced plans to replace her.

Barrientes Vela said her comment was "an excited utterance rather than a formal political declaration to seek the sheriff's seat in 2020."

On Monday, Barrientes Vela told KSAT, "we are going to go ahead and get formally announced that, yes, I will be seeking the chair and seat of the sheriff's office within Bexar County."

READ MORE: 10 controversies surrounding embattled Precinct 2 Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela

The next day, she confirmed it to other local news outlets.

In her statement released Saturday, however, Vela said her comment was made "in the heat of the moment" while federal authorities raided her office "without having time to reflect upon it."

"On Monday ... while this was going on, I was in a frame of shock as to the raid and watching what was occurring when I made my Sheriff statement," she said in her statement.

Barrientes Vela went on to say that she has not taken any other steps, like assigning a campaign treasurer, submitting filings or requesting financial support.

"Nor did I have plans to abandon the four-year term seat of the Constable's Office," she said. "I will continue to humbly serve the constituents of Pct. 2 as we move forward together."

The statement does not change the Bexar County Comissioners Court's decision to seek her replacement, County Judge Nelson Wolff said Saturday. 

Wolff announced the decision Wednesday after an opinion from the District Attorney Joe Gonzales found that the constable's statements automatically triggered the state's resign-to-run law.

The county is accepting applications for the constable's office until Monday at noon. 

Officials said they are looking for someone with law enforcement experience and trying to move quickly to appoint her replacement. County staff plan to conduct interviews and select a final candidate at Commissioner's Court on Oct. 2.

About the Author:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.