Gym trainer killed in boating incident

While waiting for his boat to pick him up, another hit him in what authorities are calling an apparent hit-and-run.

July 07, 2010|By Michael Miller,
(Courtesy Clark…)

A Westminster man who worked as a trainer at a Fountain Valley gym died over the weekend when a boat struck him in the water in Lake Havasu.

Eric "Octopus" Norris, 30, was pronounced dead about 6 p.m. Saturday after what authorities called an apparent hit-and-run.

Norris fell off an inner tube while being pulled by a boat across the lake, according to the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department.

While he was waiting for the boat to double back and pick him up, another boat struck him and left the scene.

Jodi Miller, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Department, described the other boat as red with white striping, 25 to 30 feet long with a V-hull, and driven by a man with a female passenger.

Miller said it was unclear, based on witness accounts, if the driver saw Norris in the water or slowed down after hitting him.


"We're continuing to ask for the public's assistance, if anyone may have been in or around the area and seen a boat that matches that description, to contact our investigators," Miller said.

In the wake of Norris' death, friends set up a website,, in his memory. The site asks for donations for Norris' son and to cover his funeral costs.

Clark Bevans, the owner of Anytime Fitness where Norris worked and one of the website's creators, said Norris had been an inspiration to staff and clients since the gym opened four months ago.

"He lived a life of service," Bevans said. "No matter what was going on or how tough things were, he was always smiling, always helping the members free of charge — you know, just really trying to give. That's what made him feel good."

In addition to working at the gym, Norris was a competitive mixed martial arts fighter, earning the nickname Octopus, Bevans said, because of his ability to trap opponents with his limbs.

"They would come over like there were eight of them, and you'd have nowhere to go," said Bevans, a fellow competitor who often trained with Norris before matches.

Bevans said funeral services were pending and would be posted on the website.

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