Authorities are searching for an escaped prisoner who stabbed a Miami-Dade officer outside a Texas Walmart as the suspect was being transported to Nevada.
Alberto Morales, 42, was being transported by two officers, Jaime Pardinas and David Carrero, to Las Vegas for a court appearance when they stopped at the store in Grapevine, just outside of Dallas, around 11 p.m.
Grapevine Police say the officers and Morales had flown to Houston and were supposed to take a connecting flight when the suspect began to act strange on the plane.
Morales was acting erratic and disruptive and bumping his head against the seat in front of him, Miami-Dade Police said.
"Mr. Morales was very agitated, acting very erratic and he was causing problems on the flight," Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson said. "After landing in Houston we were told we could not board the plane anymore."
The officers rented a small SUV and decided to drive the rest of the way when they stopped to use the restroom at the Walmart at 1601 W. Highway 114 in Grapevine, police said.
Carrero left the SUV and was inside the store when Morales took off his glasses, broke the frame and attacked Pardinas, stabbing him once in the chest and three times in the back with the sharp broken end of the glasses, police said.
Morales, who was wearing a belly band with his hands shackled to it, fled the scene on foot, police said.
"He was handcuffed, we don't know how he got the handcuffs free, that's all being investigated," Patterson said.
"He is considered dangerous at this time and he is still at large, so we're seeking the public's assistance in finding him," Grapevine Police spokesman Lt. Barry Bowling said. "As far as we know he may still be in shackles, and the clothing description we had at the time we got the report was that he was in some grey shorts and a blue shirt."
The 54-year-old Pardinas, a 28-year veteran officer, was taken to a nearby hospital to undergo surgery. He was in serious but stable condition and was expected to recover from his injuries, police said.
A large manhunt was underway to catch Morales, who police say is a violent offender and is considered dangerous. He has arrests for sexual battery, burglary and kidnapping, police said.
"We don’t think he could have gotten too far," Bowling said. "We’re concerned about where he might be since he's at large and we do think he's still very dangerous."
Miami-Dade Police officials said they're assisting in the search for Morales.
Meantime, Grapevine Police said they'd located a stolen SUV that was a vehicle of interest in the case.
The white Ford, either an Explorer or Expedition, was stolen in close proximity to the last known whereabouts of Morales sometime between 10 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m. Tuesday, police said.
It contained a handgun inside, police said.
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