An evening out for a family dinner turned tragic Saturday when a 15-year-old Coquitlam high school student was struck by a bullet fired by an assailant in a shootout on a Vancouver street, dying two days later of his injuries.
Alfred Wong sustained serious injuries and was put on life support in a Vancouver hospital; he died Monday, the BC Coroner Service confirmed.
And while many people in the community have expressed sadness on social media about the tragic incident that ended the life of the local boy, little is known about the family, other than they are members of the Coquitlam Christ Church of China.
“It’s hard for them to face and record this sad memory,” said Pastor Caleb Choi, who requested that all queries about the teen and the family be sent to him via email so that he could pass them on to the family.
Various sources in the community said the teen was in Grade 10 at Pinetree secondary school and a member of the Hyacks Swim Club.
Hyacks head coach Frici Laszlo said he heard from the family Sunday night and passed the information on to the club yesterday.
“It’s something I’ve never done in my time as a coach. It was very hard. It was very emotional for me to tell them,” said Laszlo, who described Wong as a nice person, “an amazing kid” who joined the team five or six years ago but stopped swimming recently because of high school commitments.
But he continued to keep in touch with the team, the coach said, adding: “It’s terrible for the parents. I can’t imagine how they feel. It’s terrible. I hope justice will be served.”
A poster on the social media platform Reddit recalled the youth as a strong, smart and loyal person.
“If you took a glance or had a quick conversation with him, you would instantly be able to tell he’d been disciplined well. He got decent grades — enough to get him into the honours course at Pinetree secondary school for all three possible courses,” the poster, named Kevin, stated.
A gifted student, Wong was also trustworthy and quiet, Kevin wrote.
School District 43 did not confirm the information because of a request of privacy from the family.
“It is with heavy hearts and sincere condolences to the family that we confirm that it was a student from School District 43 who passed away. To respect the family's privacy during this difficult and traumatic time in their lives, we are not releasing the name of the student or the school the student attended," the district said in a press release.
SD43 provided services to the boy's school via the Critical Response Team after receiving notification from the Vancouver Police Department.
A family friend described the youth as “sweet” and a good boy who went to church and worked hard at school.
“We are all collectively grieving. It's such an unthinkable tragedy, just to be in the back seat of the car and have a bullet come through,” Melody Li told The Tri-City News. “It’s not fair. You have to look at the bigger issue.
Li, who is a member of the Tri-City Moms Facebook group, also said: "We’re going to reach out to the family and let them know they have support beyond the church."
— with files from Janis Cleugh