A Miami-Dade police detective who was stabbed by an inmate during a prisoner transport in Texas returned to South Florida on Tuesday morning.
Jaime Pardinas arrived at Opa-locka Executive Airport about 11:10 a.m. Several Miami-Dade police officers armed with balloons and signs greeted him there.
"I just couldn't live with myself if I didn't come see my friend today, so I'm very, very happy that I'm here with all my colleagues," said retired officer Jerry Llanes. "(He's a) very funny person, very outgoing, very humble."
"It's like your own brother going down and we're all here together supporting him. We always will be," said retired officer Alina Schettino. "I was the first one to receive him, which made me feel really good, and I told him, 'I love you, brother. We'll always be here for you.' He said, 'Thanks you, thank you' in tears. (It was) very touching."
Schettino met Pardinas at the police academy two years ago.
"Jaime was always fun to be with," she said. "Jaime was a character and still is."
Alberto Morales stabbed Pardinas four times while in the parking lot of a Walmart in Grapevine, Texas, on Feb. 11, police say.
"He was calm and collected even though he was injured very, very bad," said Llanes. "I truly believe that that's what made him survive."
Morales, a convicted sex offender, was shot and killed by police on Feb. 15, according to the Southlake Police Department in Texas. Pardinas was released from the hospital on Saturday.
Pardinas didn't speak with the media when he arrived Tuesday. He's expected to speak with reporters Friday.
Marinka Stuvel, Pardinas' girlfriend, said Monday that he is slowly recovering, and mentioned that he has been eating, talking and making jokes.