Cab driver assaulted after stepping in during fight

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix man says he was brutally beaten after he put himself between a belligerent boyfriend and the woman he was driving home.

Richard Norris, 62, was assaulted at a Chandler area apartment complex last week.

"I have a girl I take home regularly, and she had called me early and told me that her boyfriend who she had been having troubles with had destroyed their apartment," Norris said.

The woman had asked Norris to take her to the apartment to see just how much damage had been done. When they arrived, her boyfriend, whom police identified as 30-year-old Duran Garcia, was still there.

"He saw us and came out right away," Norris said. "He immediately went for her, and I got in between them and that was all it took."

Norris said he only remembers the first blow, and that's probably a good thing.

According to the court documents, he suffered a broken jaw and eye sockets, and his teeth, some of them dentures, were all knocked out.

"Even knowing the outcome, I wouldn't have done anything different," he said.

Chandler police investigated the case and, according to the police report, Garcia admitted to officers that he punched Norris because he "got in my face."

"When I saw him that night, his eyes were just like an animal's. You know, I've never seen somebody's eyes like that before," Norris said.

Garcia took off after the attack. A Chandler police K-9 tracked him down a couple hours later, hiding on the second level of a parking garage a few blocks away.

He was arrested and is facing aggravated assault and criminal damage charges.

"I guess thank God that I was there because she's a pretty small girl, that if he would have got into her, there's no telling what would happen," Norris said.

His family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for a new set of dentures and to help make up for the lost income while he heals.

"People, I have no idea who they are, are donating money to me, and I want to thank all of them," he said.