The senseless killing of innocent 15-year-old Alfred Wong during a gunfight in Vancouver, Canada over a week ago has left his loving family still in utter shock.
“Everything is still really raw right now. It’s difficult to look back,” said Wilfred Wong, the boy’s brother, at a Vancouver Police Department news conference on Monday afternoon, according to the Vancouver Sun.
“The 15 years we had with Alfred were far too short but we know that 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… but the years he had with us will impact our family forever.”
Alfred was an unfortunate victim of a stray bullet which struck him as he was riding with his family in a drive home to Coquitlam, along Broadway at around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday on January 13. The teenager fought for his life in the hospital before passing away two days later. Kevin Whiteside, 23, one of the gunmen involved in the gang-related gunfight and the intended target of the attack, was also killed, reports CTV News.
The family’s pastor, Caleb Choi, also delivered a heartfelt message on Monday, describing Albert as “a bright young man” who was an honor student at Pinetree Secondary.
“Outside of school, he participated in martial arts, basketball, and swimming. He was hoping to become a lifeguard and had already completed many of the requirements,” he said.
“Alfred was preparing to join a leadership camp so that he could gain experience and help the community through volunteering.”
The pastor said the boy loved playing video games with his friends and traveling the world with his family. His dream was to become an electrical engineer.
“While he was taken from us much, much too soon, he lived his 15 years to their fullest extent. You know that he is now with God in a better place,” Choi said.
According to Vancouver police chief Adam Palmer, the senseless, random nature of Alfred Wong’s death has “rocked” the community.
“As police officers, every day we deal with criminals engaging in criminal activity and there are often tragic consequences to engaging in this criminal lifestyle. However, having to deal with the death of an innocent 15-year-old boy has been difficult on everybody,” he was quoted as saying.
While the police have yet to identify a suspect, Palmer noted that his team has made “significant progress” in reviewing evidence. The incident is still under investigation with reportedly 50 officers continuously working on the case.
Palmer did not confirm if other gunmen other than Whiteside and his killer were involved in the gunfire. He also did not give information whether it was Whiteside or his unidentified attacker who shot the bullet that killed Alfred. He said that it was “rare that we see an innocent person being killed, a young person at the early stages of their life. It’s heartbreaking.”
Alfred’s family has set up two scholarships under his name to help others pursue dreams similar to his. Instead of flowers, the family is seeking for donations to fund the scholarships, one intended for the school district and another for his swim club. The funeral will be held at the Coquitlam Alliance Church on Saturday.