VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The swim coach of an innocent boy killed in a weekend shooting in Vancouver is remembering the Coquitlam teenager as a good kid and a great teammate.
Three people were hurt in the shooting on East Broadway near Ontario Street on Saturday night. The teenager was in a passing car that was caught in the crossfire. He died on Monday, after he was put on life support. The target of the shooting was 23-year-old low-level drug dealer Kevin Whiteside, who was armed and exchanged shots in the gunfire. Another man who was in a passing car was treated for minor injuries at the scene.
Head Coach Frici Laszlo says he’s known the teenager since he joined the Hyack Swim Club at age eight, and formed strong bonds with teammates as young as six.
“He was a very nice boy, a good guy,” Laszlo says. “I spoke with the kids yesterday before the practice… it wasn’t easy to tell them. It was very emotional for me as well, because we’ve known him a long time.”
“They were shocked and some of them cried of course, and some needed a rest before they keep on going with the practice.”
He says after the swim practice, they got the news that the boy was no longer on life support and had died.
“You know, we’re always waiting any miracle, but there is no miracle.”
He says some kind of mental health support will be offered to the children and teenagers at the club.
“Even though of course, we try to be positive but it’s very hard, emotional for the kids who swam with him, who know him. They met each other before Christmas and now he won’t be there anymore.”
Laszlo says the teen was a volunteer lifeguard at another pool as well.
“(And) even though he wasn’t a competitive swimmer he stayed with us because swimming was part of his lifestyle.”
Premier John Horgan says as a parent, he’s outraged over the death of the teenager.
“I listened to Chief (Adam) Palmer from the Vancouver Police Department yesterday speaking about how his officers feel in these situations and I think all British Columbians share that anger and frustration.”
“All British Columbians are angry and saddened at the loss of an innocent life in gang violence in the Lower Mainland.”
Horgan says no stone should be left unturned in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Vancouver police have been canvassing local businesses looking for security camera footage. They have not arrested any suspects and are asking for any witnesses, or anyone who may have dash cam footage from the incident, to contact them on 604-717-2500.