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

Man charged in suspected Greater Victoria bus assault

The Victoria Police Department has arrested a man for sexual assault aboard… Continue reading

Library’s French collection gets $15,000 boost

Provincial grant adds extra French-language materials to Greater Victoria Public Library collection

Cruise Industry Job Fair on Saturday

Nearly 900 jobs created by the industry

Victoria playing host to regional farm market conference

Food industry experts to attend three-day networking event, which is open to the public

City grants 10-year tax ‘holiday’ for luxury condo building

$5.4-million tax break will offset Custom House heritage redevelopment

President praises nearly 1,800 volunteers at B.C. Games

Ashley Wadhwani sits down with the Kamloops 2018 B.C. Winter Games President Niki Remesz

The way government learn someone has died is getting a digital overhaul

Governments in Canada turned to private consultants 2 years ago to offer blueprint

Bobsleigh team misses Olympic medal finish

Canadian team finishes four-man event 0.84 seconds behind first place, 0.31 seconds from podium

B.C. Games: Athletes talk Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018

From Andi Naudie to Evan McEachran there’s an Olympian for every athlete to look up to

Minor injuries after car veers into Courtenay dance studio

A driver and passenger were taken to hospital after their vehicle crashed… Continue reading

Snowboarders sliding into fresh territory at B.C. Games

Athletes hit the slopes for first appearance as an event at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops

Cougars hold upper hand on Westshore in VIJHL South semifinal

Victoria leads series 2-0, games 3 and 4 go tonight and tomorrow

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

Most Read