COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – Hundreds of family members and friends gathered today to lay to rest a 15-year-old boy who was caught in the crossfire of a shooting in Vancouver two weeks ago.
Alfred Wong was one of three people hit by bullets on Jan. 13th around Broadway and Ontario Street. He was riding in a car with his parents and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when gunfire broke out. After being placed on life support, he died of his injuries two days later.
— Hana Mae N. Nassar (@HanaMaeNassar) January 27, 2018
At his funeral today, he was remembered as a bright, young man who excelled in school.
Youth Leader Sam Chan says Alfred was well-loved by family and friends and always wanted to help others. “And sometimes Alfred could be shy. He was a little bit introverted but when he spoke there was a thoughtfulness to everything he said and there was a little bit of wit.”
His loss is being described as unimaginable, painful and very sad and it has hit families and even communities hard, but Chan says there is a lot of support. “Cry with those who want to cry, talk to those who want to talk, just sit there beside people who just need some time.”
Chan feels the best way to honour Wong is to express love and care for our own family members. “It’s really unfortunate because, I think it’s only in times of tragedy that we’re reminded [of] what’s really important in life.”
Pastor Caleb Choi says the boy’s family is staying strong, even through this difficult time. “I’m not only encouraging them to live on, on behalf of Alfred but also to show everybody that we can change our world by positive thinking.”
Choi adds the family is grateful for the support and love they have received and not just from the church but from the community in Vancouver. “Alfred is always in their heart, never, never will we forget.”
Alfred attended Pinetree Secondary in Coquitlam and was a member of the Hyack Swim Club for several years. Head Coach, Frici Laszlo, says the teen formed strong bonds with his teammates. “He was a very nice boy, a good guy,” adds Laszlo. “We’re always waiting for any miracle, but there is no miracle.”
Laszlo says Alfred wasn’t just a competitive swimmer, he was also a volunteer lifeguard at another pool.
Wilfred Wong, Alfred’s older brother, also made a brief statement on behalf of their family. “The 15 years we had with Alfred were far too short, but we know Alfred is now in heaven with God. My parents and I will always love him dearly and his death will leave a void in our hearts. The years that he had with us will impact our family forever.”
— Vancouver Police (@VancouverPD) January 22, 2018
Two scholarships have been set up in Wong’s honour. The first one is the Alfred YF Wong Memorial scholarship, in conjunction with School District 43, to help those who “want to pursue the same dreams and goals as Alfred did.” The second one is the Alfred YF Wong Memorial scholarship associated with the Hyack Swim Club.
Police investigation continues
Twenty-three-year-old Kevin Whiteside was the intended target of the shooting — he also died, while another man was grazed by a bullet. Whiteside was believed to be a low-level drug dealer.
Two weeks after the shooting, police continue to appeal for any information that could lead to an arrest in this double homicide.
“We have collected and reviewed video and determined that there are people out there we still need to talk to,” says VPD Constable Jason Doucette. “In particular, our detectives are looking to speak with anyone who was at the Indochine Kitchen + Bar around the time of the shooting.”
Last Saturday, police took the unusual step of setting up their Mobile Command Centre near the epicentre of the shooting in hopes anyone who may have seen or heard anything came forward to speak to a detective. They haven’t said how many tips the force may have received.
They’ve also been pleading for any dashcam video from other drivers who may have caught any of the violence.
Anyone with information is asked to call the VPD’s Major Crime Section at 604.717.2500.