EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The two El Paso area Superintendents accused of scuffling outside a San Antonio Whataburger last month took aim at each other again Tuesday.
Ysleta ISD Superintendent Xavier De La Torre is accused of head-butting Socorro ISD Superintendent Jose Espinoza during an early morning incident while the pair were in San Antonio for a conference. Espinoza, police say, hit back — but declined to press charges.
Tuesday, De La Torre issued a statement apologizing, but adding “I want to be clear that I was not the aggressor in this incident, contrary to recent reports. I did not head butt anyone.”
“New information is forthcoming soon to substantiate the true version of events,” De La Torre added.
YISD confirmed that five of their District Trustees were in San Antonio for the same conference, but none were present during the alleged assault. The School Board has called for a special meeting to discuss the incident next Tuesday.
SISD Board Meeting
The SISD School Board met to discuss Espinoza’s job evaluation on Tuesday evening. It’s the first time that Espinoza has addressed the incident himself.
“Let me be very clear. This was not a fight, this was an assault,” Espinoza declared from the dais Tuesday night. “It’s very important for the community to understand the difference between a fight and an assault.”
Espinoza carefully laid out the definition of each, saying a fight is mutual combat whereas an assault is unwanted physical contact.
Later, Espinoza clarified that he was the “sober victim” in all this.
“A San Antonio Police Officer who was working at the location witnessed Dr. De La Torre headbutt me and me return with one punch in self-defense,” Espinoza said.
What is clear is that four other SISD trustees, along with SISD CFO Tony Reza, were all present during the alleged assault. Those four trustees include Paul Garcia, Paul Guerra, Eddie Mena, and David Morales.
Garcia said he did not witness the alleged head-butting incident, but also says he stands behind the SAPD police report.
“He was the victim, and I don’t think that should overshadow the years of success and accomplishments that he’s helped the Socorro ISD obtain,” Garcia told KTSM Tuesday night.
Morales, who was also present, says the entire incident was a misunderstanding.
“I think there’s a lot of things that have been said that aren’t valid,” Morales said. He did not elaborate further on what may or may not have been ‘valid.’
Tuesday, SISD confirmed that it was Morales who walked De La Torre back to his hotel after the incident.
As to Dr. De La Torres’s statement denying he was the aggressor, Espinoza again pointed to the police report.
“To claim that a san Antonio police officer would lie on a police report is criminal,” he emphatically stated from behind a podium during a media briefing.
KTSM did ask SISD Board Members if the incident will affect Dr. Espinoza’s evaluation. Most of them said they stand behind him and that San Antonio police report.