UVALDE COUNTY, Texas —
Speaking in front of TV cameras for the first time since the Robb Elementary shooting, Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco avoided questions about his role that day and his feelings about law enforcement's response.
Multiple investigations in the last six months revealed law enforcement missed several opportunities to act when a gunman entered a Robb Elementary classroom. The gunman was in the classroom with students for 77 minutes before the door was breached.
Follow a Uvalde County Commissioners Court meeting Wednesday, Nolasco repeated that he arrived on scene about 35 minutes after the gunman entered the school, which has been documented in multiple reports.
Nolasco said he was stopped by a motorist and alerted to a shooting in a neighborhood where he rendered aid to a victim.
"I was away from the actual scene, all right? For about 35 minutes," the sheriff said.
He said when he arrived on scene, he was misinformed. He was told it was a barricaded subject rather than an active shooter.
"The information that got to me when I got there was it was a barricaded individual. That's it. So when you have a barricaded individual, it changes the dynamics of everything," Nolasco said.
He faced several questions about his own thoughts on the response and reports from Texas DPS that claimed he presented himself as the on-scene commander. He denied presenting himself as the on-scene commander and did not answer some of the other questions, citing the ongoing investigation.
"Any time that you have, again, an investigation, you've got to protect the integrity of that case," Nolasco said. "So you don't release whatever you have as far as information. Do you really think that you're going to get, if somebody is filed on, you think you're going to get a jury that's going to be unbiased with everything that's going on?"
He did not answer a question about whether he felt there were any failures in the law enforcement response.
Uvalde County Precinct 4 Commissioner Ronnie Garza confirmed that the independent review of the Uvalde Sheriff's Department is complete and will be presented to the Commissioner's Court on Dec. 12.
Watch the full interview below:
This comes one day after a CNN report showed Uvalde Police Lt. Mariano Pargas knew eight or nine children were alive and needed to be rescued inside the classroom at Robb Elementary School.
Pargas was the acting police chief on the day of the shooting back in May.
Pargas called Uvalde PD dispatchers to get more information after they relayed a call over police radio from 10-year-old Khloie Torres. In it, Khloie tells dispatchers the room is full of victims and begs for police to come into the classroom.
The phone call now shows for the first time that a senior officer was made aware of 911 calls from inside the classroom.
The Uvalde mayor responded to those reports and said Pargas will soon be out of his job.
Uvalde CISD plans to discuss hiring a new school district police chief at its meeting Wednesday night.