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O.C. man killed in Lake Havasu boating crash

July 6, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
An Orange County man was killed Saturday in a Lake Havasu boating accident described as a hit-and-run. Eric Norris, 30, of Huntington Beach, had fallen off an innertube being towed by a boat and was floating in the water when another boat hit and killed him. The driver of the boat did not stop.

Now, his friends and family are mourning his death.

"He had a knack for doing things for people," said Norris's father, Jim Norris. "Everybody always loved him. You can't prepare to lose a child. It's not natural."

On Tuesday, Jim Norris met with his son's co-workers and friends at the gym where his son worked as a personal trainer.

"I'm devastated," said Terry Hairston, owner of Team America Fitness, where Norris worked. "I just had seen Eric like a day before that."

Norris was known for his positive spirit.

"Eric was the type of person, when he walked into the room, he lights the room up with his smile," Hairston said.

Norris studied Jiu-Jitsu and gained the nickname, "The Octopus."

"Before you know what happened, he would have one arm over your head and have his legs wrapped around your body like an octopus would," said Clark Benevas, ower of Anytime Fitness. "He would have the hardest workouts and just be training really hard, and then he would get up and hug you afterwards and laugh about it."

Norris moved in with his 88-year-old grandmother and also cared for his 7-year-old son.

"He really lived his life through service, taking care of his grandmother and a son," Benevas said. "He would never tell anybody no, he didn't have time to help them."

Friends said sometimes he was too generous, handing out too much free service at the gym.

"One day I came in, I pulled him to the side and said, 'Eric, I know you love helping people, but don't give it all away,'" Hairston said. "He said, 'OK, I've got you'. I came in two days later, he's doing the same thing. But that's just Eric he just loved to help people."

Norris's friends and family said they hope someone can help find the person who killed him.

"There's a lot of things I'd like to say, but if he could just man up and do the right thing," Jim Norris said.

The boat that killed Norris was 25 to 30 feet, red with white stripes. The driver was a heavy-set man and a passenger was a woman with blonde hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Colorado River Station at (760) 326-9200.


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