Loved ones mourn gifted Coquitlam student killed by stray bullet

1 / 2
Loved ones mourn gifted Coquitlam student killed by stray bullet

The teenage bystander who died after being caught in an exchange of gunfire in Vancouver on Saturday has been identified as Alfred Wong.

Friends of the 15-year-old boy, who attended Pinetree Secondary School in nearby Coquitlam, B.C., expressed grief and loss outside area schools on Tuesday, while school officials rushed to comfort them.

One friend, who identified himself only as Kevin, posted a goodbye on the social media site Reddit. 

"My friend was 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 was very trustworthy, and would always be on time when it mattered, but he was also very soft spoken," wrote Kevin. 

"I loved him as a friend, not because of his achievements, but because of his personality himself."

Friends said Wong was part of a program for gifted students.

Pastor Caleb Choi of Coquitlam Christ Church told CBC News that the Wong family is grieving and totally exhausted. They declined comment at this time. 

Wong was shot while riding in a vehicle with his parents, headed back to their suburban community, when gunfire broke out near Broadway and Ontario Street, a busy intersection south of the city's downtown, around 9:15 p.m. PT.

Two Vancouver men were also hit, including the man police believe was the intended victim, 23-year-old Kevin Whiteside, who later died.

Police say he exchanged gunfire with his assailant. Whiteside's mother told CBC News he was struck in the head. 

Whiteside was known to police — he was found guilty of assault with a weapon and breach of probation in 2016 — but family members say he was so much more than his criminal history. 

"Kevin was a young man with an enormous heart, he loved his family he loved his friends. He would give you his last $20 if you needed it," his mother, Kyra Clark, said in a statement issued to CBC through a friend. 

"A true kind soul to friends always there for them, he would give you his shirt off his back if you asked. He was kind and funny and always one you could count on."

She said her family is struggling and feels great sorrow for Wong's family.

"We are a good family who also can not comprehend this type of activity," she said.

Vancouver police and school board officials are urging people to give families privacy to grieve.

At the same time investigators are appealing to witnesses for any video of the incident.

Whiteside's death was the city's first homicide of 2018, making Wong's the second. 

"What a tragic, terrible event this is. We can't recall something like this happening in our city in a very long time," Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer said on Monday. 

"It's heartbreaking."