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

Trumpeter Donnie Clark returning to Williams Lake

Donnie Clark is one of Canada’s leading trumpet and flugelhorn players.

Bus company eyeing passenger and cargo service departing from Williams Lake, stopping in Quesnel

Merritt Bus Shuttle Services Ltd. would have a driver based in Williams Lake for the route to Prince George

Williams Lake city council settles for $5 airport passenger facility fee increase

Originally council was debating establishing a $10 airport improvement fee

Rain, sleet and snow arrives in the Cariboo

Freezing rain in the forecast overnight

Pinettes land medals early at PanAm Waterski Championships

Parnell and Lucas Pinette have skied to medals so far at the PanAm Waterski Championships

UPDATE: West Fraser to permanently reduce production in Quesnel, Fraser Lake

The move, due to log supply shortages, will affect 75 employees in Quesnel, 60 in Fraser Lake

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Heading soccer balls can cause damage to brain cells: UBC study

Roughly 42 per cent of children in the country play soccer, according to statistics from Heritage Canada

Supreme Court hears case on migrant detainees’ rights to challenge incarceration

Currently, migrants who do not hold Canadian citizenship can only challenge detention through an immigration tribunal or a judicial review.

Canada Post issues new offer to employees as eBay calls on Ottawa to end strikes

Ebay is calling on the federal government to legislate an end to the Canada Post contract dispute, warning that quick action is needed to ensure retailers don’t lose out on critical Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

No G20 member has climate plan strong enough to meet Paris targets: report

Canada’s push to be a world leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by its distinction for producing the most greenhouse gas emissions per person among the world’s 20 largest economies.

Talent show: B.C. girl, 8, memorizes entire periodic table

Grade 4 student Maya Lakhanpal heads to B.C. talent show finals with unique talent

Most Read