Uvalde constables avoid tough questions over law enforcement response to Robb shooting at candidate debate

Candidates running for election in Uvalde County were invited to participate in a public forum

UVALDE – On Tuesday night, candidates seeking election in Uvalde County took part in a public forum hosted by the Uvalde Leader-News and Southwest Texas Junior College.

Candidates for several races, including the sheriff and several constable positions, were asked questions by their community.

Sheriff Ruben Nolasco, Precinct 1 Constable Johnny Field, and Precinct 6 Constable Emmanuel Zamora are looking to be voted back into office but are now under intense scrutiny after being named in a damming Department of Justice report on the Robb Elementary School shooting.

“I need them to withdraw from this candidacy,” said Velma Duran, sister to Irma Garcia.

Armed with signs and photos of children and teachers, a crowd showed up at the SWTJC campus, ready to be heard.

“My son should not be in this coffin. He should not be in heaven. He should be right here running with his brothers,” said Felicha Martinez, Xavier Lopez’s mom.

Last month, the report by the DOJ laid out failures by law enforcement in the Robb Elementary response, including three individuals — Sheriff Ruben Nolasco and Constables Johnny Field and Emmanuel Zamora.

“They didn’t help the 21. They haven’t helped our kids. They will not help yours either,” said Jamie Torres, Khloie Torres’ mom.

“They don’t deserve to be working anymore. I mean, resign,” said Kassandra Martinez, Aj Martinez’s mom.

Families of victims and survivors of Robb held powerful signs.

“I don’t trust them to protect me anymore,” said Cristine Olivares, Kendall Olivares’ mom, reading off the sign she held.

The signs were forced to be kept outside the auditorium where the candidate forum was held. Meanwhile, the people who held those signs filled the seats inside, eagerly waiting to hear from the candidates.

Sheriff Nolasco was a no-show. Field and Zamora showed up but left before it was their turn to speak.

“We had three other candidates in the green room, and they left — Max Dorflinger, Emmanuel Zamora, and Johnny Field,” said Craig Garnet, the night’s moderator.

A request to both Zamora and Field’s attorney for comment was not returned at the time this article was published.

Some of the candidates running against Zamora and Field for the constable seats took the opportunity to criticize law enforcement’s response on May 24, 2022.

“The DOJ made it very clear it was a failure in every form and fashion. If I had done it, if I was there that day, I would have turned in my badge and never shown my face in this town again,” said Paul “Wayne” Moss Jr., candidate for constable Precinct 1.

DOJ report: Officers missed 10 opportunities to stop Robb Elementary gunman

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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.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.

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