Friends, family members, and LEOs united to welcome home injured Miami-Dade police detective Jaime Pardinas. Pardinas was released from a Dallas, Texas hospital after he was attacked by a convicted felon during a transport operation.
The congregation gathered at the Opa-Locka airport to greet Pardinas as he deployed from the aircraft. The reception has been described as “an amazing and overwhelming outpouring of support.”
Retired officers Alina Schettino and Jerry Lanes were among the well-wishers.“ I was the first one to greet him, and it felt really good,” said Alina Schettino. “ I told him, ‘We love you, and we are here for you. We are so happy that he has survived this ordeal. We would also do this for any other officer who has endured something like this.’”
According to official reports, Pardinas and his partner, Officer David Carrero, were transporting a convicted sex offender Alberto Morales from Houston to Nevada when the incident occurred. The inmate was being transported to Nevada to serve a life sentence for sexual assault. ( Morales already had an extensive criminal history dating back to 1994.)
The transporting officers made a bathroom stop at a Wal Mart store 20 miles northwest of Dallas. While Carrera was inside the establishment, Morales used a sharp fragment of his broken eyeglass lens to repeatedly stab Pardinas in the neck and in the back; then he fled the scene.
After a massive manhunt, Morales was killed in Southlake, Texas on February 16, in violent confrontation with police. Although authorities regret the fact that the apprehending officers had to use deadly force, the community has breathed a collective sigh after knowing that the dangerous felon was no longer free to roam their neighborhoods.
According to Grapevine police spokesperson Robert Eberling, Morales had made it clear to everyone that he was not going back to prison.
“He may have been planning this for some time,” Eberling said. He added that Morales had been properly handcuffed and shackled, but Morales managed to escape anyway.
Despite his grievous injuries, Pardinas maintained his composure and calmly dialed 911 for help. He also gave specific details to the operator, including the suspect’s physical description and mental issues. It is believed that these actions, in addition to numerous prayers being said on his behalf, that has saved his life and possibly the lives of others.
“It was a very difficult and life threatening situation,” Llanes said. “It was his training that got him through this ordeal.”
He added that incidents like this are a reminder to both law enforcement and civilians of just how dangerous a law enforcement office’s job can be.
“He really is a hero,” said Pardinas’ sister, Cintia Shand, said. “The 911 tape revealed his presence of mind, to remain calm despite his life threatening injuries. The first 24 hours after the stabbing was very hard for all of us.”
Shand stated that she was overjoyed to hear her little brother’s voice when he was released from the hospital Saturday.
“The first thing I said to him was, ‘You gave us quite a scare!’” Shand said. “He just laughed and said, ‘I’m sorry!’”
Pardinas, 54, has served with the Miami-Dade Police Department for 28 years. He has been described as a “character”, and he is loved and respected by law enforcement and civilians alike. This was evidenced by their show of support upon his return.
Psardinas still faces a long recovery process. Although he has not yet issued an official statement to the media, he and his family have expressed their heartfelt thanks to everyone for their care, their concern, and for their continued prayers and support.
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