Inmate stabs Florida officer, escapes at Grapevine Wal-Mart

Posted Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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A convicted sex offender whose "crazy" behavior got him and the Florida detectives escorting him bumped from a plane Monday remained at large Tuesday night after stabbing one detective in a Grapevine parking lot and escaping, still in shackles, authorities said.

A $10,000 reward was offered for information leading to the capture of Alberto Morales, 42, who was added to the Texas Department of Public Safety¡¦s most wanted list.

Authorities consider him very dangerous. The DPS issued a statewide Blue Alert, which urges Texans to be on the lookout for suspects involved in deaths or serious injuries of law officers.

The injured Miami-Dade detective, Jaime Pardinas, 54, was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. His condition could not be learned Tuesday evening.

"We¡'ve been diligently investigating all¨ tips, said Sgt. Robert Eberling, Grapevine police spokesman. "Other agencies have been experiencing the same thing, but we haven't been able to confirm any of those tips as viable.

"We're still searching."

Morales is about 5-feet-7 and 175 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair. He has a tattoo of a Native American on a horse on his left shoulder and upper left arm. He has scars on his left hand, left arm, and nose. He has discolored spots on his face around his right eye and on his forehead.

He was wearing dark shorts, a white hooded jacket and one tennis shoe.

When he escaped, Morales was wearing a belly band with his hands shackled to it.

"He was handcuffed. We don'¦t know how he got the handcuffs free," Patterson said.

Morales was being taken from Florida to Nevada where he is to serve 30 years to life for sexual assault with a weapon. In December in Miami, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual battery with a deadly weapon, burglary with assault and kidnapping stemming from a 2003 crime.

He was being escorted to Las Vegas by Miami-Dade detectives Pardinas and David Carrero. They flew from Miami to Houston where they had a layover. Airline workers asked to not get back on the plane because of Morales¡¦ behavior.

Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson said Morales was bumping his head into other passengers¡¦ seats.

"He was doing a lot of crazy, unusual things that disrupted the flight," Patterson said.

The detectives decided to rent a car and drive the nearly 1,200 miles, a decision that was backed by the police department, Patterson said.

A third Miami-Dade detective was to fly into Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and meet them to help with driving to Nevada.

About 11:20 p.m. Monday, Pardinas and Carrero stopped at a Wal-Mart in the 1600 block of Texas 114 in Grapevine. Carrero went inside to use the restroom; Pardinas stayed in the car with Morales.

Morales stabbed Pardinas, possibly with his eyeglasses, and fled, Patterson said.

Eberling said, "He did not escape with the officer's weapon."

Patterson said the transfer to Nevada was within guidelines and coordinated, including the presence of two officers.

On Tuesday afternoon, Grapevine police said they were looking for a "vehicle of interest," a white 2008 Ford Explorer reported stolen from the parking lot of the Super 8 Motel at 4470 Texas 114 in Irving, near where Morales escaped.

A handgun also was in the SUV, police said.

That vehicle, however, was recovered late Tuesday evening by Dallas police, Eberling said.

"Morales wasn't in it," he said. "They arrested someone else, but it was completely unrelated to our fugitive."

Also Tuesday, area city and school officials warned residents and parents to be on alert for Morales. The Grapevine-Colleyville, Keller and Northwest school districts imposed ¡§soft¡¨ lockdowns.

Longtime Las Vegas defense attorney Marc Saggese, who represented Morales in a Nevada criminal case, said his client claimed that he suffered a severe brain injury when he was hit in the head with a baseball bat at age 17. Morales said he heard voices and had trouble controlling impulses.

"He said that ever since that attack and subsequent surgeries he has struggling demons in his head," Saggese said.

While in a jail medical ward, Morales mutilated his genitals and wrote in blood on the wall. He underwent a psychological examination by doctors at a Nevada state mental hospital in Sparks but he was found competent to stand trial, the attorney said.

Morales pleaded guilty in 2008 to sexually assaulting a woman in 2003 at an apartment blocks away from the Las Vegas Strip. The woman told police a man jumped from her closet in the middle of the night, held a gun to her face, blindfolded her, attacked her several times and left after telling her he would kill her if she called police, according to Clark County District Court documents.

After that conviction, Morales was sent to Florida to face charges in a prior 2003 crime, Las Vegas police Officer Laura Meltzer said. In Miami, Morales was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual battery with a deadly weapon, burglary with assault and kidnapping stemming from the 2003 crime.

Morales now faces four Texas charges: attempted capital murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault on a police officer and escape.

Staff writer Bill Miller contributed to this report, which includes material from The Miami Herald and The Associated Press.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763; Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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