MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Friends, fellow and retired officers and loved ones flocked to the Opa-LockaAirport Tuesday to greet and embrace a Miami-Dade Police Officer who survived a traumatic ordeal in Texas.
From Chopper 4, Jaime Pardinas, 54, could be seen hugging a number of people from a crowd that showed up to greet him as he stepped out of his jet.
It was the same scene at his home where a CBS4 crew captured Pardinas hugging members of his family.
“All I can tell you is that Jaime is back in one piece and that is what really matters,” said retired Miami-Dade Police Officer Jerry Llanes, a longtime friend of Pardinas. Pardinas has been with Miami-Dade Police for 28 years.
“He’s doing very good. I saw him. His recovery is going very well,” Llanes told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench.
Among those greeting him was another retired officer, Alina Schettino. She carried a sign noting the fact that she and Llanes had graduated from the Police Academy together in 1985.
“We are ecstatic and very happy that he is safe and back home now. He is ok. Thank God,” she told D’Oench.
“It is an awful feeling to know that you may not survive something like this and thank God he did,” she said.
“We are all here to support him as classmates,” she said. “This is something we would do for any other officer who has gone through something like this.”
Pardinas and his partner, Officer David Carrero, were transporting serial rapist Alberto Morales from the Houston airport to Nevada when the incident happened.
The officers made a bathroom stop at a Walmart store some 20 miles northwest of Dallas. While Carrero was inside the store, police say Morales stabbed Pardinas three times in the back and once in the neck.
Pardinas was hospitalized in Dallas. While Morales escaped, he was shot and killed by police on Saturday.
Llanes spent 25 years with Miami-Dade Police, including a number of years in the training bureau.
“While I have never gone through anything like this,” said Llanes, “I can tell you as a trainer that this is terrible and this is dangerous. It shows how dangerous the job can be. Some people don’t realize just how dangerous it is.”
“It was a very difficult in fact a life threatening situation,” said LLanes. “I think it was his training that got him through this whole ordeal.”
In a statement released by Miami-Dade Police, Padrinas said he was grateful to the community for its “care and concern.” But he said was requesting privacy right now and did not want to say anything else.
Miami-Dade Police said they expected that he would say something to the media by the end of the week.
Detective Alvaro Zabaleta told D’Oench that it was not known when Pardinas would return to work.