TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — A community coping with tragedy. Just three days ago the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office lost one of their own in the line of duty, and on Saturday night, hundreds of people gathered to honor him and show support for his family.
“My son would be very honored, for everybody that came out today,” said an emotional Angela Magli, the mother of Deputy Michael Magli.
Deputy Michael Magli’s parents and siblings gathered Saturday night at the site where their son and brother tragically lost his life just three days ago.
“I’d like to believe that because of his actions, many people were saved,” said Angela.
Organizers of the vigil assure his actions did save people, and not just on the night he was killed.
“Deputy Magli was right here in our community, and has assisted us many times at the YMCA,” said Veronica Condren, Program Director at the North Pinellas YMCA, and the organizer of the vigil.
Deputy Magli was an eight year veteran of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, and a friend to many.
“Mike was the type of person who was always cordial, always thoughtful, and always had a kind, funny word to say to everybody,” said Michaelene Havas, a former administrative assistant for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office who recently retired.
Deputy Magli is the first Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy killed in the line of duty in the entire 109 years the department has existed. A history they never wanted to mark.
“It just makes me happy to see how much he meant to this community up here, that it wasn’t in vain,” said Pastor Rachel Hughes, a retired lieutenant of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
His impact shines through the huge outpouring of people who joined together to honor his life.
“This has turned out to be something bigger and better than I could ever imagine,” said Condren.
Condren planned the vigil on Friday, and in that short amount of time, staff and students at Brooker Creek Elementary School made luminaries and signs, and the community showed up to make sure Deputy Magli's family feels their love.
“You’re never alone, you’re never by yourself. We stand with you, if we have to we’ll carry you. We’ll always be there. You have to reach out. Someone will always be there for you,” said Pastor Hughes.
Deputy Magli’s family wanted to let the community know how grateful they are for the outpouring of support these last few days.