Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News
The manhunt continues for a prisoner who stabbed a police escort and escaped last night as he was being transferred from Florida to Nevada. Grapevine police say Alberto Morales used his eyeglasses to attack the officer. They believe Alberto Morales is still in the Dallas area.
Multiple law enforcement agencies are in an extensive manhunt for a prisoner that stabbed a Miami-Dade Police officer and escaped custody in Grapevine Monday night.
Two Miami-Dade detectives were transporting prisoner Alberto Morales between Miami and Las Vegas. The officers had a connecting flight from Miami to Houston and then on to Las Vegas.
Miami-Dade County officials said prior to landing in Houston, Morales began acting erratically, which resulted in the officers and Morales not being allowed to board the connecting flight to Las Vegas.
Instead, the detectives rented a vehicle and began traveling from Houston to Las Vegas, with a stop in the Dallas area where a third detective was en route to meet them and assist with the ground transport.
Around 11 p.m., the officers and Morales were in the parking lot of a Walmart at 1601 West Highway 114, awaiting the arrival of the third officer, when one of the officers got out of the vehicle and went into the store to use the restroom.
While that officer was in the restroom, Grapevine police said Morales was able to take off his eye glasses, break off the frame, and use the sharp, broken end as a blade to attack the lone officer guarding him, 54-year-old Jaime Pardinas, stabbing Pardinas once in the chest and three times in the back before fleeing.
Pardinas was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital where he was treated for his injuries.
A large manhunt is under way, involving multiple agencies, as Morales is a violent offender and considered dangerous. The State of Texas has placed Morales on their 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list and is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his capture.
At 12:45 p.m. Tuesday, Grapevine police said they are looking for a 2008 white Ford Explorer with Texas license plate 19ZJW8. The vehicle was reported stolen from a Super 8 motel sometime overnight Monday. Police said there was a handgun in the vehicle and officials was stolen in crose proximity to the last known location of Morales.
Still Loose, Still Bound
At the time of escape, it's believed Morales was wearing a belly band with his hands shackled to it. Police believe he may still be in shackles. Morales fled the scene on foot, and Grapevine police still believe he is traveling on foot.
"He is considered dangerous at this time and he is still at large, so we're seeking the public's assistance in finding him," Grapevine police spokesman Lt. Barry Bowling said. "As far as we know he may still be in shackles, and the clothing description we had at the time we got the report was that he was in some grey shorts and a blue shirt."
"We don’t think he could have gotten too far," Bowling said. "We’re concerned about where he might be since he's at large and we do think he's still very dangerous."
Robert Ebberling with the Grapevine Police Department said Morales will have four charges from today's incident, including attempted criminal capital murder, attempted criminal murder, aggravated assault on a police officer, and escape -- each carrying a $1 million bond.
Ebberling said Morale has no known connections in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Law enforcement officers are considering the entire DFW area as their search radius.
Some schools in the area were even placed on lockdown during different parts of the day due to police activity in the area. Those lockdowns have since been lifted.
Prisons of the Past
All law enforcement officials have reinterated that Morales has a lengthly, violent criminal history and needs to be treated with extreme caution.
Miami-Dade officials said Morales was apprehended in Nevada in 2008 and was brought back to Miami and incarcerated pending a court case from 2003 in which Morales was charged with two counts of Burglary/With Assault or Battery Armed, two counts of Kidnapping/With a Weapon to Aggravated Battery, and five counts of Sexual Battery/With a Deadly Weapon/Serious Injury.
Morales plead guilty to these charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison to be run consecutively to a sentence in Nevada. We are still looking into Morales' criminal history in Nevada.
NBC 5 has crews on the scene to gather more information. As this is a developing story, details may change.