ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay area paid its respects to fallen Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Deputy Michael Magli on Tuesday. Magli was laid to rest at Trinity Memorial Gardens following a procession of law enforcement officers.
Family, friends, and community members gathered during the morning for a funeral service at Idlewild Baptist Church. At the service, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri reflected on Magli’s career accomplishments, his friendships and the sacrifices he made for his family.
“Know that Deputy Michael J. Magli died a hero,” Gualtieri said to the fallen deputy’s family.
The sheriff added that Magli’s wife, Stephanie, and two young daughters will always be family to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Stephanie then gave heartfelt remarks on the love and friendship that the two shared.
"I don’t want to say goodbye, I’m not ready," she said.
She was followed by Magli's father and brother, who spoke on the deputy's selfless heroism.
"My family and I are proud of our hero, Deputy Michael James Magli, my big brother," Magli's brother said.
Magli’s father-in-law and uncle shared more on how important relatives were to Magli, including stories of him growing up in a big Italian family.
Pinellas County deputies then took to the stage to speak on the incredible sacrifice of Magli's service on the force.
Following the service, law enforcement officers held a final honors ceremony for Magli, including a 21-gun salute, a rider-less horse, a "missing man" flyover and a ceremonial last call.
Magli, 30, was killed last Wednesday while trying to deploy "stop sticks" to end a chase with a suspected drunk driver in Tarpon Springs. Investigators say 33-year-old Robert Holzaepfel had earlier been found slumped over at a red light but took off when firefighters smashed his window, leading to a pursuit that ended with him crashing into Magli near the intersection of East Lake and Forelock roads.
The deputy was pinned under his SUV and died.
Magli began working with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in 2013. He is survived by his wife, two young children and his parents.
The sheriff's office has created a special web page to honor Magli. For more information and to leave a message for his family, click here.
The man accused of hitting and killing Deputy Magli faces several charges including first-degree murder, DUI manslaughter, and aggravated fleeing and eluding police officers, according to online records. His blood-alcohol level reportedly registered as .230 – about three times over the legal limit.
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