ELVERTA (CBS13) — Heartbroken over the sudden and tragic loss, the family of Lance Corporal Ryan Harris hold on to memories to get them through.
“Ryan was the all American kid. If you had a son, you would want one like Ryan,” said his grandfather Larry W. Holt, who raised Harris in Placer County and also served in the military. “He was my hero,” he said. “He meant the world to me. He was the ideal grandson, or son. I looked at him as my son.”
Harris, just 21-years-old, a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, he was killed early Friday morning after an altercation on the streets of San Diego. Exact details are still under investigation, but family says Harris was attempting to intervene in a fight when he was stabbed. He died from his injuries and the suspect is still on the run.
Harris had been in the Marines for two and a half years. His family says he was recently honored as Marine of the month for his work on base. “He chose the Marines because he thought it would be the type of challenge that he wanted, the type of environment that he would benefit from,” Holt said.
Harris was a talented baseball player, playing in high school for Rio Linda and East Nicolaus and in several leagues in San Diego. A fierce competitor he earned as special nickname from teammates. His family says his days on the field is what they’ll miss the most.
“The days in baseball… He was a leader, but he was competitive. He expected the best of himself, so he was known for the distance of his helmet throws when he struck out and scattering the dugout with flying objects when things didn’t go right. He had a nickname of Rhino. Yeah, everybody called him Rhino,” Holt said.
Harris’ mother, Kelly Weaver, was grateful Ryan was able to make it home for one last Christmas this past week. “I don’t know how to be without my son. This is very devastating,” she said. The family says Harris was a huge New England Patriots fan and wanted to join the highway patrol when he got out of the military.
Harris has two older brothers and an older sister.
A brother, son, and grandson gone too soon, but family say his spirit will live on. “He was that type of a kid. He cared about his country. He cared about the way he was viewed in life.”