The manhunt for the "dangerous" and "desperate" Miami-Dade prisoner who stabbed a detective and escaped in Grapevine while being transported to Nevada continues throughout North Texas for a fourth day.
Alberto Morales, 42, is "a schizophrenic" who vowed not to return to prison, according to authorities and a 911 call released Wednesday.
Though law enforcement officials said Morales had been "appropriately restrained" during transport, Grapevine police said they do not think Morales is in shackles any longer and that he may have gotten out of the shackles somehow inside the SUV. Police have not located the shackles that were on Morales.
Meanwhile, Miami-Dade officials flew to Texas Thursday morning to assist in the search for Morales.
Deputy Mayor Genaro "Chip" Iglesias and Chief Juan Perez travelled to be at the side of Officer Jaime Pardinas, who remains hospitalized after being stabbed by Morales in the parking lot of a Grapevine WalMart Monday night.
"We're gonna do whatever it takes to assist in that part of the investigation, and obviously the welfare of the officer is of utmost importance and were gonna go visit him and the family and make sure all their needs are being met as well," Perez said at a news conference Thursday morning.
Iglesias urged the public to be on the lookout for Morales.
"We urge everyone to be on alert and we ask you to please forward any information that you think would lead to the capture of this criminal, so that he does not hurt anyone ever again," he said.
"This gentleman has obviously demonstrated violence not only today but in the past so we need to catch him," Perez said.
Pardinas and Officer David Carrero were transporting Morales from Miami to Las Vegas by plane but were forced to rent the SUV after Morales acted up on the first flight to Houston, and they were told they wouldn't be allowed to make the connecting flight, police said. Department policy requires three officers to be present for ground transfers of prisoners. Department policy requires three officers to be present for ground transfers of prisoners.
When they stopped at Walmart to use the restroom, Morales struck, using a broken piece of his eyeglasses to stab Pardinas in the chest and back in the parking lot while Carrero was inside the store, police said.
Morales fled the scene on foot. Pardinas, 54, was taken to a nearby hospital in serious but stable condition. Igleasias said on Thursday that his condition has improved. Authorities had said he was stabbed very deeply in the neck and back and that he suffered a collapsed lung.
In a 911 call released Wednesday, Pardinas is heard struggling to catch his breath as he tells the operator he's just been stabbed and gives her a description of the fugitive.
"Subject is 5'7", 165 pounds, white Latin male named Alberto Morales," Pardinas tells the operator. "He's a schizophrenic."
Carrero is also heard in the call pleading for help.
"My partner, it's getting hard to breathe for my partner," Carrero said. "My partner's complaining, he got stabbed in the back, he got stabbed in the neck."
Police say Morales is considered extremely dangerous and has arrests for sexual battery, burglary and kidnapping. 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.
Grapevine police spokesman Robert Eberling said authorities continue to search near the airport and will do so until they believe they should look elsewhere. He said the search covers "any place anybody can hide," including yards and drainage ditches.
Police are warning neighbors to watch out, describing Morales as a "dangerous" and "desperate" fugitive from the law.
Miami police officials said they will remain in North Texas until Morales is caught.
Police initially thought Morales might be in a vehicle stolen Tuesday morning at a motel near the airport, but Eberling said Wednesday that's not the case. He said the vehicle has been recovered in Dallas and is not believed to be connected to the incident.
On Thursday Grapevine police released a photo of a district tattoo of a Native American on a horse that Morales has on his left arm.
Investigators say it’s possible Morales has gotten some help and escaped from the area. He’s now on the state’s Top 10 Most Wanted List and a reward of $10,000 has been issued for information that leads to his capture.
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 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."
Officials said Morales fled wearing only one shoe and was wearing shorts at the time.