Door-to-Door Search For “Desperate” Fugitive

Four days after police say he attacked a Miami-Dade police officer in Grapevine, fugitive Alberto Morales is still on the run and believed to be in North Texas.

On Thursday, federal agents went door-to-door in the neighborhoods near the Grapevine Walmart, 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.

"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.

Burch said the search for Morales will continue to expand.

"It's not out of question that he stayed on foot for quite some time that night, and no one really knows how far he made it," Burch said.

Investigators say, based on the time shown on suveillance video, Morales only had about a ten-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 describe Morales as a "dangerous" and "desperate" fugitive from the law and continue to urge people to continue to report anyone who looks like him or fits his description.  

Investigators are following up on all reports but said that all leads to this point have been proven unsubstantial.

"If you see someone that looks like him, please call us.  Even if you're on that edge of, ‘Is it or isn't it?’  Call us.  Let us go out and talk to the individual, because you never know when that one person’s going to call in, and that's actually going to be him,” Lt. Todd Dearing of the Grapevine Police Department told NBC 5 on Wednesday..

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 (see photo above). Authorities also said that the fugitive is likely in new clothes, and may be seeking food, water, and shelter.

Schools in the area are continuing to be vigilant as the search for Morales continues. Carroll ISD says they will continue a "soft lockdown" at all school campuses on Friday by continuing to have increased police presence and patrols.

Morales Unchained

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

Burch told NBC 5 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.

Contact Us