Miami detective says training helped save his life

Posted Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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MIAMI -- The police detective stabbed last week in Grapevine by a prisoner he was escorting to Nevada said Thursday that he had one thought as he was being attacked: "I'm not going down."

"That's what we're trained to do," Miami-Dade police Detective Jaime Pardinas told reporters at his first news conference. "We're trained to survive."

On Feb. 11, Pardinas, 54, and Detective David Carrero were escorting Alberto Morales, 42, from Miami to Nevada, where he was to serve prison time for sexual assault. About 11:20 p.m., they stopped at the Wal-Mart on Texas 114 in Grapevine, and Carrero went inside the store.

Morales attacked Pardinas with a sharpened piece of his eyeglasses.

Morales eluded a manhunt for five days. He was killed Saturday when three officers tracked him down near Lake Grapevine.

At a news conference Thursday, officials declined to let Pardinas answer any questions about the attack, saying it was still under investigation.

However, Pardinas later said in Spanish that he and Morales were engaged in a hand-to-hand fight in the vehicle when the prisoner attacked. "He caught me by surprise," Pardinas said. "But he wasn't expecting me to put up such a fight."

Morales said 28 years of police experience and training kicked in, allowing him to fend off the prisoner. Pardinas was stabbed deeply in his neck, shoulder and back and had a collapsed lung.

Treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, he was released Saturday after exploratory surgery confirmed no severe injuries to any organs, he said. A dark purple bruise was visible on his neck Thursday.

"This is what we do," Pardinas said. "This is what I've dedicated my life to do."

Inmate 'skilled and crafty'

Last week, Grapevine police released Pardinas' 911 call after Morales escaped.

He gasped for air as he told the operator that Morales had stabbed him in the neck and run away, and was a "schizophrenic."

He said he couldn't tell the operator which way the inmate went but managed a description of Morales.

Morales was found Saturday night in heavy woods near Lake Grapevine by three officers -- a Grapevine police officer and two U.S. marshals. They fired multiple shots, killing him.

Grapevine police Sgt. Robert Eberling has said Morales was unarmed and not wearing handcuffs. He was holding some sticks.

"He was very skilled and crafty as far as making makeshift, edged weapons inside the prison. That was in the forethoughts of the officers," Eberling said. "He was able to almost kill an officer with some eyeglasses."

At Thursday's news conference, Miami-Dade police Director J.D. Patterson said the entire incident was under review. He declined to answer any questions about department policy.

"We're going to make the necessary changes to allow everybody, the entire country if you will, to learn from this incident," Patterson said.

Before leaving Texas, Pardinas visited the spot where Morales was shot. He needed to do so, he said, as a detective and for his own sense of closure.

Even as he lay in his hospital bed, "I wanted to be part of this investigation," he said.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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