San Diego

Friends Gather in Memory of Grand Canyon Accident Victim

Luis Gonzalez, 18, slipped off the edge at Grand Canyon Park, falling 400-feet to his death

Friends of the Hoover High School graduate who fell to his death in the Grand Canyon on Jan. 28, gathered in City Heights Friday night to remember the 18-year-old.

A vigil was held for Luis Gonzalez at the home of one of his teachers.

Gonzalez graduated from Hoover High School last year. The impact he made on the students, coaches and teachers compelled them to gather in his memory Friday.

Friends said Gonzalez had the right attitude and an infectious sense of humor that could get you through just about any difficulty.

“He was always laughing, whatever he went through he tried to overcome it. He was that type of guy,” close friend Kaleb Pineda said.

A tattoo Gonzalez had on his leg--which read "Refuse to Sink"--was written on the shirts worn by his closest friends during the vigil. They said they called themselves the "Red Rangers."

"It’s like a family group, I guess we could call it. Like our brotherhood,” Pineda said.

Gonzalez was not with the Red Rangers at the time of his death. He hitched a ride to the Grand Canyon with other friends on their way back to college late January.

Pineda said while getting a closer look, Gonzalez slipped off the edge, falling 400-feet to his death.

“So many memories that I will never forget. We had so many plans,” said his girlfriend, Vanessa.

The 18-year-old's cross country coach Chris Brewster said he something in the teenager that perhaps others did not.

"I watched the laughs and the jokes turn into determination that I don't know that he knew was there,” Brewster said.

Friends said Gonzalez' good nature touched the hearts of many who crossed his path.

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