Miami Fugitive Shot Killed by Police

By Elvira Sakmari, Lita Beck and Andres Gutierrez
|  Saturday, Feb 16, 2013  |  Updated 11:19 AM CDT
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Days after he attacked a Miami-Dade police officer and escaped, fugitive Alberto Morales was shot and killed by police, according to Grapevine Police and the Southlake Department of Public Safety.

Andres Gutierrez, NBC 5 News

Days after he attacked a Miami-Dade police officer and escaped, fugitive Alberto Morales was shot and killed by police, according to Grapevine Police and the Southlake Department of Public Safety.

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Days after he attacked a Miami-Dade police officer and escaped, fugitive Alberto Morales was shot and killed by police, according to Grapevine Police and the Southlake Department of Public Safety.

In a news conference early Saturday morning, police told NBC DFW that Morales was shot and killed around 12:25 a.m. in the 2200 block of Lake Ridge Drive near Grapevine Lake.

"With the use of the helicopter and the infrared capability of the helicopter, they (police) were able to identify someone in the woods not far from where the house was burglarized," Sergeant Robert Eberling, Grapevine PD. "Officers and members of the US Marshalls Fugitive Task Force responded to that area. They encountered Mr. Morales. He was shot and he is now deceased."

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Officers Scout Vacant Homes for Morales

Police are following leads from the public in the continued manhunt for Miami fugitive Alberto Morales.

Police Going Door-to-Door in Search for Fugitive

Four days after he attacked a Miami-Dade police officer, fugitive Alberto Morales is still on the loose.
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The latest chain of events started when Grapevine Police responded to a burglary call at a home in the 2100 block of Forest Hills Road around 10:30 p.m on Friday. Officers said men's clothing and jewelry were missing.

The launch for Morales was launched. Grapevine Police said Morales was found hidden in a wooded area near Grapevine Lake. A Grapevine officer and two US Marshalls Fugitive Task Force Members encountered Morales and shot him while trying to apprehend him.

As of 3:25 a.m., police had not moved Morales' body. "It was apparent and clearly obvious today he was not interested in going to jail," said Chris Heisler, President of Founder of the Honor Network. "That essentially cost him his life by being a danger and a threat to our officers. So it’s a great day for Texans being comfortable knowing that this guy is gone." 

The Southlake DPS Facebook page first tweeted the information shortly after 1:00 a.m.

On Thursday, federal agents went door-to-door in the neighborhoods near the Grapevine Wal-Mart, where they talked to homeowners and searched barns and sheds in the area.

Grapevine-area Constable Tim Burch is assisting in the search for Morales, who is considered armed and dangerous.

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"He's had to have gone somewhere and gotten some clothes, you would think, or he's holed up in a barn somewhere or gained access to a home somewhere. Who knows?" Burch said then.

Investigators say, based on the time shown on surveillance video, Morales only had about a 10-minute head start on police after the attack.

The last confirmed sighting of Morales was soon after the Monday night attack, when construction workers spotted him running near the Kimball Avenue exit of state Highway 114 in Southlake.

Police had described Morales as a "dangerous" and "desperate" fugitive.

On Thursday, Grapevine police released a photo of a distinct tattoo of a Native American on a horse that Morales has on his left arm. Authorities also said that he was likely in new clothes and could be seeking food, water and shelter.

Morales Unchained

Up until Thursday, Grapevine police had told NBC 5 they believed Morales could still have been in shackles when he escaped but now say they believe the felon may have disabled the restraints before the escape.

Burch told NBC DFW that the shackles used in prisoner transport are difficult to free oneself from.

"A transport belt, if used properly, in the many years I've been in law enforcement, I haven't seen anybody get loose from one of them," Burch said.

Miami-Dade police said there will be a full investigation into how Morales escaped from his shackles.

Officials: "He's Not Going Back to Prison"

Grapevine officer Robert Eberling said inmates who knew Morales in prison have told investigators that he had vowed not to return.

"He's made it pretty clear that he's not going back to prison," Eberling said.

On a recording of a 911 call released Wednesday, Pardinas can be heard breathing heavily as he tells the operator that he's been stabbed. He described Morales' height, weight and appearance and then added: "He's a schizophrenic."

On another 911 call, a bystander told the operator: "There's a guy with a gun and somebody on the floor bleeding." The caller than clarified that "the guy with the gun is helping the guy that's bleeding."

Pardinas was accompanied by Miami-Dade Detective David Carrero during the transfer. They flew to Houston with Morales and then decided to drive the rest of the way after he became disruptive on the flight.

They had stopped near the Wal-Mart while waiting for a third officer who was flying in to the Dallas area join them. Department policy requires three officers to be present for ground transfers of prisoners.

Pardinas, 54, remained hospitalized in Dallas on Wednesday after undergoing surgery. He's "making progress" and expected recover, a Miami-Dade police spokesman said.

In a news conference at Parkland Hospital Wednesday, authorities said Pardinas was stabbed very deeply in the neck and back and that he suffered a collapsed lung.  While his condition is improving, he is still listed in serious but stable condition.

Pardinas and Carrero were taking Morales to Nevada to serve a sentence of 30 years to life for a conviction of sexual assault with a weapon.

"We’re really relieved for the citizens of this community. We knew we had a dangerous individual out there on the streets. And he was capable of being extremely violent. That is what we’re relieved of," said Sgt. Eberling.

This report compiled from several NBC 5 reporters covering the story.

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