Hundreds remember bright, ambitious B.C. teen killed by stray bullet

Samson Wong wept as he apologized to his teenage son, saying he wishes he could have protected him

Samson Wong wept Saturday as he apologized to his teenage son, saying he wishes he could have protected the young man from the stray bullet that took his life.

Alfred Wong was heading home to Coquitlam with his parents on Jan. 13 when a bullet pierced their vehicle on a Vancouver street, striking the 15-year-old. He died in hospital two days later.

Vancouver police have said they believe the shooting was gang related.

“Alfred, forgive Mom and Dad. We tried to protect you,” Samson Wong said at his son’s memorial service on Saturday. “Mom and Dad have been talking. We wish the bullet went for our heart, not yours.”

Sobs could be heard throughout the Coquitlam Alliance Church as Wong spoke to the crowd of about 700 mourners, saying he still can’t accept or believe what has happened.

“Every morning when we wake up, we tell ourselves it was a dream, a bad dream,” he said.

His son’s body lay a short distance away, dressed in a red plaid shirt and grey toque, in an open casket.

Wilfred Wong told the crowd that his younger brother was his “closest companion and an irreplaceable pillar” in his life.

“Fifteen years was far too short a time on Earth,” Wong said. “But for 15 years, he lived a life full of happiness and joy. Thank you, Alfred, for being in our lives, reminding us to always be true to who we are and to always cherish the people we love and care about.”

He said the teen was bright, had plans of becoming an engineer and filled his spare time with many extracurricular activities, including swimming, taekwondo, video games and basketball.

Alfred’s basketball teammates sat in a pew together, dressed in their black uniforms.

His long-time basketball coach, Steve Ashley, told the crowd that Alfred was a true sportsman who found freedom in the game.

As the only left-handed player on the team, he had to work twice as hard to master drills meant for right-handed players, Ashley said.

He added that after Alfred’s death, the team played a game using only their left hands to honour their friend.

“It wasn’t pretty,” he said.

Pastor Caleb Choi of the Coquitlam Christ Church of China, where the Wong family are congregants, urged the crowd to hold Alfred in their hearts and honour him by living positive lives.

“Drowning in our grief is not enough. We must continue to live on,” he said.

A memorial video of Alfred’s life showed a chubby-cheeked baby, a grinning toddler, a family on vacation. It showed a teen breaking a board to earn his black belt in taekwondo and squirming away from a mom singing him happy birthday.

Outside the memorial, Sam Chan, a youth leader with the Wongs’ church, said it’s been difficult for the community to come to grips with the sudden death.

“There’s no real way to explain this. I think at this time, the important thing is to cry with those who want to cry, talk to those who want to talk, just sit there with those who just need some time,” he said.

Performing a funeral for a 15-year-old is completely different from other memorials, Choi said before the service.

“We have no words to comfort the family, no matter what we say,” he added. “What we can do is just pray for them.”

Choi noted that Wong’s family has set up two scholarships in the teen’s name — an attempt, he said, at making sure others get to live out Alfred’s dreams.

“The family is very strong. Even in the saddest time, they still have a positive mentality. That’s very amazing.”

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Another snowfall warning for Lower Mainland

Another 5-10 cm expected for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Sunshine Coast

Saskia and Darrel kick off spring tour with Chilliwack concert

Stories of the Great Plains delivered in Gaelic, French and more

Harrison to participate in inter-municipal business licence program

Construction companies and related businesses will be able to work across the Fraser Valley in 2020

RCMP officer reaching out to youth about intimate partner violence

Chilliwack officer and friends of Maple Batalia team up to encourage bystanders to speak up

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Two boys saved after falling through ice in Coquitlam

RCMP say a Good Samaritan pulled the kids to safety

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

Most Read