Family of teen bystander killed in Vancouver shootout 'still in shock'
The family of a 15-year-old innocent bystander killed during a brazen public shootout in East Vancouver says the teen's death "will leave a void in our hearts."
Alfred Wong was riding in the back seat of his parents' car in the area of East Broadway and Ontario Street on the evening of Saturday, Jan. 13 when he was hit by a stray bullet.
The Coquitlam teen died of his injuries at Vancouver General Hospital two days later.
"The 15 years that we had with Alfred were far too short…We're all still in shock that something like this could have happened to us," Wilfred Wong, the victim's older brother, told reporters Monday.
He thanked everyone from the first responders and doctors who tried to save his brother's life to those who extended their condolences on social media.
"Everyone gave their best, and we're very thankful for that."
On Wednesday, the pastor of Coquitlam Christ Church of China, where the victim was part of a youth group, remembered the teen as "a bright young man who excelled at his studies."
According to Pastor Caleb Choi, Wong participated in martial arts, basketball and swimming with New Westminster Hyack Swim Club. He hoping to become a lifeguard and had already completed several stages of training.
In his spare time, he enjoyed laughs over video games with friends.
Wong, who attended Pinetree Secondary School, was also preparing to join a leadership camp and intended to pursue a career in electronic engineering, the pastor said.
"He was very close to his parents and his family and was loved dearly by them," Choi said. "Although he was taken from us much, much too soon, he lived his 15 years to the fullest extent."
Wildfred said two scholarships have been set up in his brother's memory to help young people with similar aspirations reach their goals.
Wong's funeral service will be held on Saturday at the Coquitlam Alliance Church.
More evidence needed: police chief
Kevin Whiteside, a 23-year-old with gang ties who police believe was involved in the shooting, was also killed during the gunfight.
Whiteside, who was armed at the time, had a long criminal history that included charges such as assault with a weapon and uttering threats.
A 30-year-old bystander from Vancouver suffered minor injuries and was treated the scene.
Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer said detectives have made "significant progress" in the investigation.
"We have a very good idea of what happened that night based on video evidence and witness statements," he said.
The chief said investigators know who fired the bullet that struck Wong, but would not identify a suspect.
While the investigation is advancing rapidly, Palmer urged anyone with information about the gunfight to come forward.
"We have good evidence so far, but we need more," he said.
Detectives working on the case can be reached at 604-717-2500.
While it's rare for innocent bystanders to be injured in gang-related crime, Palmer said we are seeing an "uptick of gang violence in Metro Vancouver right now.
"We haven't seen gang violence like this probably in the last 10 years," he said. "We've got several groups that are at odds with one another and they're going out and killing each other."
With files from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson