Search for officer stabbing suspect continues
Updated On: Feb 13 2013 12:42:15 PM EST
The search continues for the convicted felon who police say stabbed a Miami-Dade police officer during transport in Texas.
Det. Jaime Pardinas, a 28-year-veteran, was taking convicted sex offender Alberto Morales to Las Vegas, Nevada, on a flight from Miami to Houston late Monday, said Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson. He was with Det. David Carrero, a 7-year-veteran.
Police were taking Morales to Nevada, where he was to serve a sentence of 30 years to life for a conviction of sexual assault with a weapon. But the officers and Morales weren't allowed to get back on the plane during a layover in Houston because of the inmate's erratic behavior, authorities said.
The officers noted the suspect acting strangely -- bumping his head on the seat of the passenger in front of him -- on the plane so they got off the plane, rented a car, drove to Dallas and stopped at a Walmart in Grapevine.
"After landing, we were told we could not board the plane with this gentleman anymore," said Patterson. "The officers made an effort to get a rental car and actually transfer Mr. Morales by rental car."
When Carrero went inside, Morales, 42, stabbed Pardinas, 54, four times and ran away. Authorities say he stabbed the officer in the back and chest with what police in Texas believe was a broken pair of eyeglasses.
Carrero called 911 after returning to the vehicle and finding Pardinas had been stabbed, say police.
Police there say they are looking for Morales near train tracks in Grapevine, Texas. An alert has been issued for all nearby communities to look for the suspect, who is likely still in shackles.
"Until we have information that leads us to believe that he left this area, we're still looking in the immediate area of Grapevine to try to locate Mr. Morales," said Grapevine Police Sgt. Robert Eberling. "We have not recovered any clothing, any of the shackles that were restraining him. We're still searching the area to see if we can recover any of that."
Police found the broken pair of eyeglasses used to stab Pardinas, investigators say.
Morales was placed on the Texas Dept. of Public Safety's Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list. The department is offering a $10,000 for information leading to his arrest.
Pardinas is in serious condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. Pardinas' family arrived in Texas with two Miami-Dade police detectives Tuesday.
Pardinas is expected to recover.
U.S. Marshals and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are assisting with the searching.
Carrero has been involved in incidents with suspects before. In North Miami Beach in May 2008, a burglary suspect shot Carrero and his police dog.
Who is Alberto Morales
Police say Morales has charges dating back to 1994.
Longtime Las Vegas defense attorney Marc Saggese, who represented Morales in a Nevada criminal case, said Tuesday that Morales claimed he suffered a severe brain injury when he was hit in the head with a baseball bat at age 17, and that he hears voices and has trouble controlling his impulses.
"He said that ever since that attack and subsequent surgeries he has been struggling with demons in his head," Saggese said.
While in a jail medical ward, Morales mutilated his genitals and scrawled words 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 eventually pleaded guilty in 2008 to sexually assaulting a woman at an apartment blocks away from the Las Vegas Strip in 2003. 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.
Following his conviction in Las Vegas, Morales was sent to Florida to face prior charges, Las Vegas police Officer Laura Meltzer said.
Back in Miami, Morales was sentenced to 10 years in prison in December after pleading guilty to sexual battery with a deadly weapon, burglary with assault and kidnapping stemming from 2003. He broke into a Miami-area home, pulled out a butcher knife and raped two women, according to a police report.