EULESS -- Christian Ciniceros hovered over dozens of candles Tuesday, trying to relight the stubs that had been placed the night before on the front steps of Trinity High School.
Ciniceros' effort was in memory of someone whose influence kept the Trinity sophomore in school: Euless police officer Richard Wong.
The teen said Wong taught him during anger management sessions how to avoid bad decisions.
"He told me to count to 10 and calm down," Ciniceros said. "If it wasn't for him, I don't know what I'd be doing. Most likely I wouldn't be in school. I won't forget him."
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Wong, 52, died Monday evening from a heart attack he suffered while playing racquetball with his father at Hurst Recreation Center, Euless police Capt. Gary Landers said.
Wong was taken to a hospital but could not be revived, Landers said, adding that the city was unaware of any history of health issues.
"This is a shock to us," Landers said. "You have a guy who's the picture of health and he just falls over. Once he went down, he never regained consciousness."
Landers said a Euless police officer will remain with Wong's body round-the-clock until burial.
A 17-year officer with Euless, Wong was a school resource officer at Trinity.
Students held an impromptu candlelight vigil in front of the school Monday evening for Wong, who had been a mentor there since 1998, Principal Mike Harris said.
Another vigil was held Tuesday night.
"He was very loved by the kids, worked great with them," Harris said.
Kaylon Brownlee, a junior, said Wong "was there for the students who needed him."
Another junior, Angela Brown, said any student could talk to Wong about anything, "even if it was kind of disturbing."
Harris said talking with students was what motivated Wong. "As a resource officer, his primary job is to build relationships with students so they feel comfortable talking with him, so they will report information or just feel safe here," Harris said. "He was outstanding at that."
"He went there and found his niche," he said. "He could have been anything he wanted to be, but he loved those kids and they loved him."
Landers said Wong received the 2009 Blackie Sustaire Award, named for the city's first police chief.
"It's given to someone who exemplifies the characteristics of our first police chief -- a good, honest, hardworking individual who puts service to community before self," he said.
According to a biography from the city, Wong was a Pinkerton security officer in Fort Worth and worked security at North East Mall in Hurst before becoming a police officer.
Wong graduated from Meridian High School in Sanford, Mich., and earned 60 hours in law enforcement from Delta College in University Center, Mich.
He is survived by his wife, Mary, 50, and two daughters, Rachael, 16, and Allison, 13.
Terry Evans, 817-390-7620