GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s been nearly six weeks since a prisoner stabbed a Miami-Dade police detective in the neck with the leg from a pair of eyeglasses and escaped. Today audio recordings from the Fort Worth Police Department helicopter tell more about the minutes before Alberto Morales was located, shot and killed, in a wooded are near Grapevine Lake.
Morales escaped from the parking lot of a Grapevine Wal-Mart while two Miami-Dade police detectives waited for a third officer to arrived and assist with Morales’ transport to Nevada.
After a four-day manhunt police received a tip that Morales, a convicted serial rapist, may have been the person who broke into a home near Grapevine Lake.
On February 16, the Fort Worth Police Department helicopter was dispatched to the scene to try and locate the escapee from the air. After scanning the area with a spotlight the pilot radioed. “I’ve got somebody in the woods here.” Then later called out, “I’ve got this guy on view, I’ve got somebody on view and I don’t think it’s an officer.”
Listen to audio from Fort Worth Police Air One
After following Morales, pinpointing his location and giving a description of his clothing the pilot said, “If you can have the officers direct their search toward our search light I’ve got him. He’s laid down in these big trees somewhere. “I do have a visual on him, he’s at the edge of the tree line now.”
At some point the pilot apparently tried to get away from the helicopter, but the pilot radioed, “He is not moving right now. He’s pretty much laying up trying to stay away from us, in the trees. But he’s showing up real good in infrared.”
Seconds later the one Grapevine police officer and two U.S. Marshals were so close to the escapee that the helicopter pilot advised them to hold communications to a minimum and turn down their radios because they were close enough that Morales could possibly hear.
Communication from the helicopter was that Morales was at the edge of a tree line. “I’ve got him up against a tree. I’ll direct you once you get close to him,” the pilot said. “Right up against a tree… he’s hugging it tight.”
The pilot then radioed, “There have been shots fired. Suspect is down.” Officials said Morales was shot while officers attempted to apprehend him. “Once they [law enforcement] had him [Morales] in sight, he refused to obey their verbal commands to surrender, obscuring his hands from view,” Officer Sam Shemwell, with Grapevine police, said hours after the shooting. “At that point, he made a movement, or what officers characterized as he lunged towards them to within a matter of feet. At that point they had no choice but to fire upon him.”
The investigation into the attack on the Miami-Dade officer, who is expected to make a full recovery, and subsequent escape, continues.
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