The family of 15-year-old Alfred Wong, the innocent bystander killed in the shooting on Broadway earlier this month, spoke out for the first time Monday afternoon.
“We’re all full of shock that something like this would happen to us," Wong’s older brother Wilfred Wong told reporters. "Everything is very raw right now; it’s difficult to look back."
“The 15 years that we had with Alfred were far too short… 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.”
Wong died Jan. 15, two days after the shooting that also left the intended target, 23-year-old Kevin Whiteside, dead. The teen was in a car with his parents driving east on Broadway when, according to police, Whiteside and at least one other person exchanged gunfire.
The family’s pastor, Caleb Choi, who is with Coquitlam Christ Church of China, described Wong as “bright young man who excelled at his studies” and was “passionate about every course.”
He was also an athlete, studying martial arts, playing basketball and swimming with the Hyack Swim Club.
The family was very close, Choi said, and enjoyed travelling. The teen was taken much too soon but lived his 15 years “to the fullest extent.”
“Alfred Wong was born in Canada and has lived in Coquitlam his whole life,” the family said in a statement. “He was a hardworking student, caring brother and loving son. He was involved in many extracurricular activities outside school including martial arts, swimming, basketball and Kumon. He was in Grade 10 and a straight-A student. He had plans to be a future lifeguard and an electronic engineer. He was kind to everyone he met. He is survived by his older brother and his parents…
“He was a gentle child and he made our family incredibly happy. As parents, we are proud to have called Alfred our son, and no words can express how much we will miss him.”
The family has established two scholarships in memory of Alfred.
The Alfred Y.F. Wong Memorial Scholarship established with School District 43 will be given to a deserving Pinetree secondary school graduate “who is pursuing a post-secondary education with a focus on engineering and who embodies what we most admired in Alfred: his curiosity, determination, academic excellence and achievement in all areas of life.”
A second scholarship has been established with the Hyack Swim Club, where Alfred was a member. It will be awarded to help members of the club who intend to pursue post-secondary education and swim at the university level.
During Monday’s press conference, Vancouver police Chief Adam Palmer said that upwards of 100 officers have worked on the case with about 50 working on it at any one time.
Last Thursday night police closed that section of Broadway for several hours to recreate the scene of the crime for investigators. Over the weekend the department set up its mobile command centre near the intersection and officers were on hand to talk to anyone who witnessed the shooting, or who might have information relevant to the investigation.
Const. Jason Doucette said investigators took the step because they believe there are more witnesses out there.
“We have collected and reviewed video and determined that there are people out there we still need to talk to,” Doucette said, adding that investigators are particularly interested in talking to anyone who was at Indochine Kitchen + Bar around the time of the shooting.
Palmer said the department has made significant progress in the investigation.
“We have a very good idea of what happened that night,” he said, but added that there is not enough evidence yet to lay any charges.
Anyone with any information is urged to contact the VPD Homicide Unit at 604-717-2500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
With files from Tri-City News