The girlfriend of a Miami-Dade officer who was stabbed by a prisoner he was transporting in Texas said his condition continues to improve and he could be heading back to South Florida soon.
Marinka Stuvel, girlfriend of Officer Jaime Pardinas, provided an update Monday on the hero cop's progress as he recovers from the Feb. 11 incident.
"He's well, he's resting, he's taking it easy but every day he's getting a little bit better, a little bit stronger," Stuvel told NBC 5 Dallas Fort-Worth. "But he's really anxious to get home and be with his Miami-Dade family and get better and get to what he does best, being an officer."
Pardinas has been released from Dallas' Parkland Hospital, NBC 5 reported.
Pardinas and Officer David Carrero were transporting 42-year-old Alberto Morales to Las Vegas for a court appearance when the stabbing happened at a Walmart parking lot in Grapevine, Texas.
The officers were forced to rent an SUV after Morales acted up on the first flight to Houston and they were told they wouldn't be allowed on the connecting flight, police said.
When they stopped at a Texas Walmart to use the restroom, Morales used a broken piece of his eyeglasses to stab Pardinas in the chest while Carrero was inside the store, police said.
Stuvel said her boyfriend had never been in a life-or-death struggle with a suspect, but did what he had to do when Morales stabbed him multiple times in the neck and back.
“That’s survival, I think. It’s either him or the other guy, and it wasn’t going to be him," Stuvel said.
Pardinas was rushed to Parkland Hospital. Stuvel said the 54-year-old cop, who has nearly three decades on the job, may not have lived through the episode without all his experience.
"I was so proud of him because I know that's where his training kicked in," she said. "The 28 years that he's been on the force, his training kicked in, it took over and he knew exactly what to do and I'm really, really proud of him for that, it attests to the fact that he's an excellent police officer and does his job well."
Morales, who was a violent offender with arrests for sexual battery, burglary and kidnapping, fled the scene and led authorities of a days-long manhunt. He was finally shot and killed by officers early Saturday after a confrontation in a wooded area, police said.
Stuvel said news of the shooting gave Pardinas closure.
"That gave us tremendous closure, knowing that that man came to an end just gave us closure and we could now completely move forward and heal spiritually, mentally, physically, even more," she said.
She said Pardinas is up and walking around and it's expected he'll return home soon.