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

Bowser residents protest marine sewage outfall plan

Veenhof and staff endures harsh criticisms at public information meeting

Qualicum Beach society goes to bat for insect eaters

Two bat houses built to monitor population in Heritage Forest

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Rachel Notley to skip premiers conference to focus on pipeline deal

Kinder Morgan has ceased all non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline project until it receives assurances

B.C. tech company will power Uber Elevate

Moli and Uber announce research and development partnership.

Olympian sues USA Swimming, saying it failed to protect her

Ariana Kukors Smith alleges her former coach Sean Hutchison began grooming her for sexual abuse at the age of 13

Defence minister thanks troops for B.C. flood relief work

Harjit Sajjan says not only was military response quick, support from locals has been ‘tremendous’

Still no sign of missing father in Cowichan Valley

Search group for Ben Kilmer now stands 40 SAR volunteers and another 100 friends and concerned community members

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

UPDATE: Woman dies in ocean accident near Tofino hours before daughter’s wedding

“We are so thankful to everyone who helped our mom.”

Most Read