27-year old Phillip Johnson reportedly went into Millerton Lake to grab a child's sandal, and never made it out.
“I don't know how to take it… I’m kind of just shocked,” said Ben Ingersoll, former Editor in Chief for Fresno State’s student newspaper.
Ingersoll helped Johnson with his writing and says he was the most driven Journalism major he met at Fresno State.
“It’s kind of rare to find students who want to get better each day. He would bring the same story 5 times so he could improve and he was so polite about it too,” said Ingersoll
Friends say his tenacity was forged on the tough streets of Los Angeles where he grew up.
“He was given in an assignment where they had to write a personal column and trying to shape it around an incident that that happened in his life. I guess he'd been shot in his leg and he said he still had the bullet in his body,” Ingersoll said.
His upbringing didn't change his attitude about life. Hundreds of his friends wrote on his Facebook wall about his funny and positive personality.
Fresno State Professor Betsy Hays thinks Johnson stood out from other students in class.
“Phillip was there every day… on time. Actually usually met me at the door,” Hays said.
Friends are now trying to raise money for funeral expenses.
A funeral date has not yet been set.