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Stanislaus County Sheriff's Deputy Tony Hinostroza was killed as he was on his way to help get a suspected drunk driver off the roads near Riverbank on Sunday.
For the first time, his family is speaking out about what happened.
"It's surreal even being out here," said Kristina Mayo, Hinostroza's niece. It took Mayo several days to bring herself to see her uncle's makeshift memorial.
"I'm still just in a state of shock," Mayo sai. "It's unbelievable. We just talked to him literally hours before this happened."
The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office told ABC10 Hinostroza left behind an adult son and his mother, but he's also leaving behind another side of the family.
"Tony, he was still my uncle and he was always there for anyone in the family who needed anything," Mayo said.
Hinostroza was married to Mayo's aunt for 12 years before they divorced a few years ago, but they were still friends and she says that didn't make him any less a part of the family.
"I feel like I could still call him or text him if I needed something or if I wanted to talk to him, he's still going to answer," she said. "I know it sounds silly, but I wrote him the other day thinking maybe he'll just open the text."
Those texts have gone unanswered, as the memorial at the site of his crash near Terminal Avenue and Claribel Road continues to grow.
"When something like this happens, it's so unexpected. It's really hard," she said.
Mayo says she wants people to know, her uncle was the kind of guy who would always do the right thing.
"Tony was a really amazing man and he was a really good father and he was a good friend to everybody," she said. "He's going to be missed by a lot of people."
The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Hinostroza's funeral will be held on Thursday, December 6 at 10 a.m. at The House Modesto on 1601 Coffee Road.
There will be procession immediately following his service from The House Modesto to his grave site at Lakewood Memorial Park.
An official memorial fund has been set up for Hinostroza's family here.
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