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Roseville murder victim dedicated to business

Had dreams of taking ‘Extreme Skim’ to X Games
By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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Depending on who you talk to, the Roseville business owner who was found murdered Monday could be described either as a “bully” or “dedicated.” Larry Flure described murder victim Christopher Northam Sr., the owner of Skim X, as a hard working guy who was always hustling to find investors and get his business off the ground. Flure works at Allstar Powder Coating on Industrial Avenue next to the building that once housed the Skim X park during its initial stages of development. “I know he could be sharp,” Flure said. “Sometimes he could come off as being kind of a bully, but I don’t really think that’s fair.” Northam was found with at least one fatal gunshot wound Monday afternoon inside what was to become the first-of-its-kind skimboarding park in the world. Roseville police have not made any arrests or released any suspect information and the incident is still under investigation. “We wouldn’t release anything unless we had probable cause to charge somebody,” said Dee Dee Gunther, spokeswoman for the Roseville Police Department. Police did confirm it was a homicide, the first in Roseville since April 2010. Gunther said the investigation is “fast moving” and police are looking at all the evidence in the case. Professional skimboarder Lexi Hutchings said Northam had dreams of taking what he trademarked as “Extreme Skim” to the X Games. The sport uses what looks like skateboard ramps with water flowing out the top, and athletes use a specially-designed board to hydroplane and perform tricks. Hutchings said Northam and his son and business partner, Chris Jr., were hoping to take the sport of skimboarding to “the next level.” She said they approached her at a professional skimboarding contest three years ago and asked her to become part of the project. At that time, the company was still in its developmental stages at a different industrial park, just down the road from where Northam was murdered. Northam moved the project from the 10,000 block of Industrial Avenue to the 8,200 block of Industrial Avenue about one year ago, Flure said. Hutchings said she felt like a lot of what she received from Northam was empty promises and that he was very stubborn about having things his way. “I feel like Chris Sr. kind of had a personality that was like his way or the highway,” she said. “He just got way too ahead of himself thinking this was going to be the next big thing and that they were going to make all this money.” Hutchings said she abandoned the project and has not been in contact with Northam for more than two years. Former Roseville Mayor Gina Garbolino said she worked with Northam on the project through the Roseville Chamber of Commerce and had a different view of his personality. “He was very dedicated to his project and excited about the future,” Garbolino said. “He had big dreams and big goals and seemed to really enjoy living in the South Placer area. He was always very polite and friendly to me.” Employees of Skim X said they were hoping to open the park sometime this month during an interview at the Roseville Chamber of Commerce’s Roseville-2011 event on May 20, where the company had a booth promoting its business. Hutchings said Northam had borrowed a lot of money to finance the project from a number of different investors. Flure said that Northam was behind on his rent and owed a lot of money to his previous landlord, Scott Zachman, prior to relocating the business. “None of the money was discussed with me, I just know it was in the thousands that he owed him,” Flure said. Zachman could not be reached for comment. Flure said he never saw any suspicious people or activity at the complex and that most of the people who did come around were in their late teens to early 20s. Justin Arnest, owner of CrossFit Roseville, which is located across the parking lot from where Northam was murdered, said he did not know Northam Sr. and he never saw any suspicious activity or people coming by the business. “All I ever saw was construction,” Arnest said. “It sounded like it was going to be a neat up-and-coming sport.” Arnest said crime scene investigators could be seen going through the offices and the warehouse of Skim X Tuesday afternoon. “It is a shame, it’s a sad story,” he said. Family members close to Northam could not be reached for comment. Toby Lewis can be reached at tobyl@goldcountrymedia.com.