Hundreds of people were in attendance at the Wharton County Republican party forum hosted by Grace Community Fellowship Church in Wharton. Candidate hopefuls used this event to meet and gain potential supporters, however the debating didn’t just take place on the church’s sanctuary stage.
As the forum questions between Wharton County Sheriff Shannon Srubar and Robert Macek, Jr. ended, a few attendees took the debate into the parking lot and temperaments grew with the heated exchange.
Witnesses to the incident say two off-duty law enforcement officers, one employed with Fort Bend County’s Constable Pct. 3 office and one with the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office (WSO), were arguing over social media postings and the argument began to escalate.
While the property is within the WSO jurisdiction, the Wharton Police Department (WPD) was on scene. Those officers, along with Grace Community Fellowship members helped to deescalate the situation by asking one individual to leave and the other wait inside.
Contrary to public social media posts by local individuals stating that assault charges have been filed, no official report of assault has been made to either department.
Since rumors of an off-duty WSO officer have reached Srubar, he intends to fully investigate the matter.
“When I initially walked outside of the building, the situation was handled by the individuals and the officers there. It wasn’t until returning to the forum that I was made aware that one of those individuals is a law enforcement officer employed by the Sheriff’s office,” Srubar said.
“The Sheriff’s office holds each of our employees to standards that will well-represent the office. Any instance or person that could offer potential harm to the reputation and policies of the office will be investigated,” Srubar said.
When asked if this incident could be tied to any particular candidate participating in the night’s forum, Srubar said he believes this was a personal matter, not political.
“We won’t know until we get both sides of the story, but I do not believe this has any relation to the forum itself. But again, we will thoroughly look into this” Srubar said.
He continued, “This will not be overlooked.”
***Editor's note: Before this story was updated, it claimed the WPD was on site due to being hired security. This was inaccurate information and has been corrected.