Millerton Lake Drowning victim remembered at Fresno State


Friends gathered near the campus library to share stories about a young man who they say was always passionate about life.

Abel Garcia came to Fresno State to join others bowing in prayer for the life of their friend Phillip Johnson. "I think Phil -- he was just a passionate loving person. He was a well rounded man and he had such a beautiful soul. He had a wonderful heart."

Ashley Chuong also has fond memories of the 27-year-old as a fun loving person. She worked with Johnson at Boomer's Family Entertainment Center where the two became good friends. "He was a very hard worker. He was funny. He could make you laugh. Like every memory I have of Phil is just a funny memory."

Those treasured memories are what friends say they'll hold onto a week after his death. Park rangers say Johnson was at Millerton Lake with his girlfriend and her family on July 15th. They say he was 25 feet off shore trying to get a child's shoe when he struggled and drowned. Alcohol is not believed to have played a part in his death.

"It's still kind of unreal right now, it's still really new and fresh," said Ashley Chuong.

Friends are still in disbelief the person they knew as a strong swimmer never resurfaced.

A spokesperson at Fresno State says Johnson was a senior at the university and was majoring in Mass Communications. They say he was only a few credits short of graduating.

His friends said he hoped to someday become a radio DJ.

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