GRAPEVINE, Texas – The Florida prisoner who escaped in Texas after stabbing a detective with his eyeglasses was fatally shot early Saturday after refusing to cooperate with officers and lunging at them, police said.
Alberto Morales was shot in a wooded area of Grapevine, a community near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. It put an end to a massive five-day manhunt that started when he escaped Monday from a Wal-Mart parking lot after stabbing a detective with his eyeglasses.
Grapevine Police Sgt. Robert Eberling said at a Saturday news conference that officers instructed Morales to lay on the ground and show his hands, but he rushed toward them. Morales, 42, was unarmed at the time of the shooting and was not wearing handcuffs. He was holding some sticks, Eberling said.
"He was very skilled and crafty as far as making makeshift edged weapons inside the prison. That was in the forethoughts of the officers. He was able to almost kill an officer with some eyeglasses," Eberling added.
Police said Morales used a sharp piece from his eyeglasses to stab a Miami-Dade, Fla., detective who was transferring him by car to Nevada, where Morales was to serve a sentence of 30 years to life after being convicted of a sexual assault.
Detective Jaime Pardinas was expected to recover after being treated at a Dallas hospital for deep stab wounds to the neck, shoulder and back and a collapsed lung. It wasn't clear when he would be released.
Two hours before Morales was shot, officers responded to a report that jewelry and men's clothing had been stolen during a break-in at a nearby home. Eberling said Morales was still wearing part of his prison-issued jumpsuit as well as jogging pants, but couldn't comment on whether the stolen clothing and jewelry was found with him.
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 store while waiting for a third officer who was flying to the Dallas area to join them. Department policy requires three officers to be present for ground transfers of prisoners.
On a recording of a 911 call of the incident 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."
Miami-Dade Police Department director J.D. Patterson commended Pardinas in an emailed statement Saturday and thanked the law enforcement agencies that took part in the manhunt.
"To the victims who suffered at the hands of this diabolical individual, may you now have peace knowing that he will not be able to hurt you or anyone else again," Patterson said.
Eberling said investigators believe Morales had been planning his escape for some time.