Memorial service today for firefighter killed in rappelling fall

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Family, friends and colleagues gathered today to remember and honor a Phoenix firefighter who died in a rappelling accident last week.

Gary Johnstone was off duty when he and two teenage boys fell while rappelling at Echo Canyon on Camelback Mountain last Friday morning.

One of the boys with Johnstone, Trevor Crouse, 15, died, as well. The other teen suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The three were on a rock formation known as the "Sugar Cube" when they fell. It is still not clear what went wrong in the moments before the accident.

Johnstone, 50, was an engineer paramedic, a member of the Technical Rescue Team and 15-year veteran of the department. He also was one of the most recognizable members of the Phoenix Fire Honor Guard.

He leaves behind a wife and three children, one of whom was with him at Echo Canyon when he fell.

Johnstone's memorial was at 11 a.m. at Christ's Church of the Valley, 7007 W. Happy Valley Road, Peoria.

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