Hundreds gather for vigil to pay respects to fallen Pinellas County deputy

Hundreds of people in the East Lake community came together Saturday to remember a deputy killed in the line of duty. Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Magli was hit and killed Wednesday as he was trying to stop a drunk driver.

"We all just need to just love each other and keep peace with each other," Magli's mother Angela Magli said.

Angela Magli was emotional and grateful Saturday night to the hundreds of people who came to pay tribute to her son.

"Nothing else matters I hope everyone knows that because my son would definitely want you to know and believe that," Angela Magli said.

Magli was attempting to stop a drunk driver Wednesday night when he was killed. Deputies say he tried to deploy stop-sticks to catch 33-year-old Robert Holzaepfel, but was struck when the Holzaepfel's truck hit Magli and his cruiser pinning him underneath it. That split-second decision to save lives cost him his own.

"They put their life on the line for us and people should be out here to support them especially because to me he’s a hero for the community he potential he saved other people's lives," resident Ariana Amoroso said.

Amoroso was just one of a few hundred people who came to the candlelight vigil near the crash site to show their support.

The crash happened on East Lake Road near Forelock Road in Tarpons Springs near Brooker Creek Elementary, where Saturday community members with candles in hand marched from the school to the crash site. It was an incredible show of support for a family and a mother still reeling from what’s happened.

"She wanted to thank everyone for everything that was done this helps give her a little closure and see how her son was appreciated and how the community respects and honors him," organizer Veronica Condren said.

Holzaepfel had a blood alcohol level of 0.23. He's facing a first-degree murder charge.

As for the deputy, he leaves behind his wife and two young children. A representative for the family tells FOX 13, they are more than thankful for everyone who came out and showed their support.

UPDATES: Get news alerts and updates in the free FOX 13 News app