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Xiaoying Wen update: Family seeks answers, closure after renowned pianist killed

Posted at 7:48 PM, Nov 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-02 23:33:08-05

The family of Xiaoying Wen is seeking answers after the renowned pianist was killed in a bicycle accident on November 16.

Deng Jun Liu, Shun Lun Wen and their daughter Xiao Quan Wen met with Tempe police Friday afternoon, accompanied by friends. They visited the scene of the crash near Rural and Broadway roads where a makeshift memorial of cards and flowers is piling up in memory of their son.

Wen was on his bicycle when he was struck by the driver of a pickup truck. Tempe police said both had the green light, but Wen failed to yield, and Tempe city law dictates that bicyclists must yield to motorists.

Dr. Baruch Meir, an Associate Professor of Piano, accompanied Wen's family to meet with police. He said the family is devastated over this tragic loss, and fails to understand why the driver who allegedly hit and killed their son faces no consequences, whatsoever.

"We don't think we get a very clear answer for the questions we asked this morning. The officer always say we are still under investigation," said Shun Lun Wen, through a Chinese translator.

"We just want justice from the government side. We also need support from local lawyers," added his wife Deng Jun Liu.

The family said they plan to file a civil lawsuit, and are seeking a lawyer to help them with the case.  As the family tries to understand the American justice system, they fail to understand the lack of consequences for a driver who could kill someone.

"The driver just told police 'I didn't see it.' Just four words. We just lost our son and all you can say is, 'I didn't see it?'" said Deng Jun Liu.

Wen was a world class pianist who performed all over the world and received many awards for his skill on the piano.

His family said he started piano lessons in second grade, and quickly moved up. The family sold their home so their son could go to a prestigious piano school. Wen went on to shine at one of the top music schools in China, the Sichuan Conservatory. 

He came to Arizona after getting a partial scholarship from the ASU School of Music. The Chinese government also gave Wen a scholarship. He planned to get his PhD and go back to China to teach.

Dr. Baruch Meir who "discovered" Wen after he sent him a video recording said he instantly noticed something very special in his student. He described Wen as a role model for many music students at ASU.

Friends said Wen was kind, funny, humble, and very passionate about his music.

"Before we go back to China, we want conclusion of this case," said his parents.

Staff and students at the ASU School of Music held a memorial in Wen's honor Saturday night, December 2nd. 

At a Celebration of Life ceremony at ASU's Katzin Concert Hall; teachers, friends, and family remembered Wen as hard-working and driven. 

"He was at the top of my class," said Dr. Baruch Meir, ASU Associate Professor of Piano. "He was very, very talented."

Meir told ABC15 he worked with Wen for the last three years. 

"I would like people to remember who he was, the beauty of his music, the beauty of his personality," said Meir. 

Prior to attending ASU, Wen earned a Master of Music degree in piano performance at the University of Missouri-Columbia. One of Wen's friends said Wen impressed on the piano. 

"I think he had a very good memory," said friend Zeru Wang. "To be a pianist that's very important."

Wang said his friend leaves behind a legacy. 

"I hope his music can be remembered," said Wang.