Friends mourn loss of deputy killed searching for suspected cop killer

Deputy Norman Lewis was a gentle giant, friends say

ORLANDO, Fla. – Flags are at half staff at the Orange County Sheriff's Office after Deputy Norman Lewis was killed while setting up a perimeter to find alleged cop killer Markeith Loyd. 

Lewis' friends said he is from the Port Charlotte area.

Kathryn Stillman said that her daughter welcomed Lewis to a baby shower about five years ago, and since then, she's called herself his Orlando mother.

"I'm still hoping it's a dream and I wake up from it," Stillman said. "Then I heard the television, an Orange County deputy, so I came inside the house and I called Norm from the house phone and it went in to voicemail."

It wasn't long after Stillman called Lewis when she said another deputy called her daughter, telling the family to drive to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Stillman said she met with Gov. Rick Scott, Sheriff Jerry Demings and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, all offering the family support. 

"So much love shown at the hospital. So many deputies, Orange County deputies, OPD. They were all there. It was so crowded and I just looked out and I couldn't believe all the love. Everybody loved him," Stillman said.

Stillman said that Lewis' mother, Norma, was briefly hospitalized Monday afternoon in Port Charlotte for chest pain, after hearing of her son's passing.

"Norma called me, Norm's mom, and she was just screaming in the phone. Screaming, 'Help me, help me. No. No!' And I kept telling her, 'Honey I'm right here at the hospital, I'm waiting for you. I'll be right here when you get here.'"

Stillman said Lewis had a passion for his motorcycle, even showing it off when he got it a couple of years ago.

"He brought his new motorcycle to show me and Jim. He was so proud of his Harley. He did not like riding in the SUV when it was raining. He wanted to be on that Harley," she said.

Stillman also said that she gave Lewis a thermos for his motorcycle, and saw it laying in the street after his accident on Monday.

Stillman said his personality was full of laughter and smiles, giving him the nickname the "gentle giant."

"Just a wonderful person. They couldn't have taken a better, a better person than Norm. He was always so happy. I would call him, he'd answer the phone laughing," Stillman said.

The family said Lewis' mother arrived in Orlando from Port Charlotte late Monday evening for a meeting at the medical examiner's office.

Lewis, a former University of Central Florida football player, celebrated his 35th birthday one week before he was killed. More information about the fatal crash is available here.

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About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.