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

Local astronomer to share knowledge about planetary nebulae

Local astronomer explains our sun will one day eject its outer layers to form a planetary nebula

School district considers new position, drug concerns raised

Assistant superintendent confirms spike in use of a Xanax-like drug in schools earlier this year

Nanaimo’s elementary schools graded by Fraser Institute

Annual Report Card on British Columbia’s Elementary Schools released Saturday, April 21

UPDATED: Nanaimo man dies after highway crash in Nanoose Bay Friday afternoon

Accident happened just before 4 p.m. near Hillview Road.

School district changes mind, won’t cut community school coordinators

Budget initiatives proposed for next school year

MULTIMEDIA: Goats were special guests at Nanaimo Earth Day celebration

Community event was held Saturday, April 21, at John Barsby Secondary School

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Nanaimo region receives $700,000 in federal support for summer jobs

Funding for Nanaimo-Ladysmith up $74,000 from last year

Students celebrate new indigenous garden

Garden teaches students about traditional uses of local plants

RCMP investigate sexual assault in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP officers are investigating a reported sexual assault April 11

RCMP discover beaver the culprit in break-and-enter attempt

Nanaimo RCMP responded to a 911 call on Sun Valley Drive on Wednesday night

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

Most Read