After scathing DOJ report on Robb shooting, Mariano Pargas is a no show at county commissioners court

The Critical Incident Review of the Robb Elementary shooting names Pargas over 50 times.

UVALDE, Texas – Emotions were running high at the Uvalde County Commissioners Court meeting as survivors and families of the Robb Elementary victims demanded accountability.

Commissioner Mariano Pargas was the acting Uvalde police chief on the day of the mass shooting. Although he stepped down from the law enforcement position in 2022, he still serves as a county commissioner.

The recent Department of Justice report points a finger at Pargas and his lack of action that day.

“Why didn’t you save us when we called 911? We survived now we fight!” signs held by some of the survivors from classroom 112 read.

Though Pargas’ chair was vacant Monday, that didn’t stop the criticism toward him from the families and survivors.

“That just shows what person he is — careless, irresponsible, and it shows to the whole world if he failed us (May) 24th, he’s going to continue failing,” said Felicha Martinez, Xavier Lopez’s mom.

The third-floor room of the Uvalde County Courthouse was left with standing room only for the 10 a.m. commissioners court as speakers addressed the commissioners and Pargas’ empty seat. Nearly all the speakers signed up today asked for Pargas to be removed and taken off the county payroll.

“We’re paying a man that did nothing. My daughter sat there for 77 minutes and begged. She’s the one who made the phone calls. Begging for help, and no one came,” said Jamie Torres, mother to Khloie Torres.

Uvalde County Judge Bill Mitchell says unless Pargas steps down himself, there’s not much the court can do. He says the removal process is all laid out in a government statute.

“Any elected official has to be removed by action of the district court. Commissioners court has no authority whatsoever,” Mitchell said.

In December 2022, KSAT spoke with Pargas at a commissioners’ court meeting.

“All I can say is that a lot of stuff has been put out there is not the way it happened. That’s all I can say,” Pargas said at the time.

Pargas said a month after CNN first reported, the acting Uvalde police chief was told by dispatch a child in the classroom called saying, “Eight to nine are still alive.” That child was Khloie Torres.

Body camera video from the City of Uvalde from May 24, 2022, revealed this conversation between UPD Detective Jose Rodriguez and Pargas:

“Are we just waiting for BORTAC, or what’s going on?” Rodriguez questioned.

“They tell me a DPS Ranger has somebody in there,” Pargas answered.

Now that this review of the failed law enforcement response is out, and Pargas is called out by name dozens of times, these families are hoping he’ll step down.

“He doesn’t care about the community. He just cares for himself. I mean, he’s a disappointment, and he should step down,” said Dora Mendoza, Amerie Jo Garza’s grandmother.

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About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

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