Fallen San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy remembered by loved ones

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Family and friends of San Bernardino County sheriff's Deputy Larry Falce were somber and emotional during his funeral Tuesday. (KABC)

Family and friends of San Bernardino County sheriff's Deputy Larry Falce were somber and emotional during his funeral Tuesday.

"You have touched so many lives. You will be greatly missed. To me, you were not just my big brother, you were my hero," sister Margie Jorgensen said.

She said her brother was a peaceful man, who served 43 years at the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. He started as a volunteer with the Elite Mountain Search and Rescue unit and later became a deputy. At 70, he was still working.

"Larry will be remembered as a person who impacted people's lives. He leaves behind a great legacy of sacrifice and dedication," Sheriff John McMahon said.

The incident that led to his death happened on New Year's Eve. Surveillance video from the scene showed Falce slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting two dogs that had gone into the roadway in San Bernardino. That led to a driver rear-ending him.

The driver and Falce appeared to communicate after the minor crash, but it quickly became confrontational and that driver punched Falce. The driver then tried to flee, but good Samaritans stopped him from getting away.

His family made a point to thank them during the funeral.

Friends and family said that Falce was the kind of person who loved animals, often took in strays and loved serving his community.

"He had a heart of gold and loved to help others, but he didn't want any spotlight or recognition," McMahon said.

About 1,000 people attended the funeral, including members of the department's mountain search and rescue unit. Falce was later buried at Riverside National Cemetery.

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