UPDATE: Nephew of Surrey MLA killed in connection to drug trade conflict
WATCH: The City of Surrey has recorded another murder, and it appears it’s part of the ongoing gang turf war. It’s the 23rd shooting in Surrey and Delta since early March – and comes just days before a community safety meeting about the rising danger. John Hua reports.
A street-level drug trade in Surrey that has resulted in scores of shootings in recent weeks has now claimed a life – and RCMP worry that retaliation may soon follow.
Twenty-two year old Arun Paul Singh Bains died Saturday, hours after shots were fired at 3 a.m. near 126 Street and 88A Avenue.
Bains, whom Global News has learned is the nephew of Surrey-Newton NDP MLA Harry Bains, had associations with the people involved in the ongoing conflict responsible for the majority of the 23 shootings in Surrey and North Delta since early March, police say.
“It’s one we feared was going to happen,” said Sgt. Dale Carr. “Our real deep concern at this point is a retaliation event.”
“This is way more than gun play at this point. It’s gone to murder. We’re appealing to you to take no more lives.”
The shooting came as house parties celebrating Vaisakhi were winding down in the neighbourhood. Sarabjeet Kaiela, who lives in the area, initially thought the noises that woke her up were fireworks.
“My brother-in-law called me, and said your house is not safe,” she said.
“It’s very scary. I couldn’t sleep after that.”
Surrey RCMP believe those involved are of South Asian and Somali descent, fighting over a specific section of the drug trade in Surrey and North Delta.
“They’re at a street level drug trade. They’re what we call dial-a-dopers. They own a drug line, people call in and deliver drugs. That is what this is over, owning that little tiny piece of the pie of drug sales,” said Carr.
They say what’s particularly troubling in this case isn’t the sophistication of their operation, but the “reckless and careless” attitude they have towards the public, refusing to cooperate with police or keep their violence off the streets.
“This type of violence is completely unacceptable,” said Fordy. “While victims and suspects in these cases are determined to settle their differences outside the law, we in law enforcement are committed to stopping the violence.”
It means that they have few leads in the overall investigation, and few leads in Sunday’s homicide.
“Any bit of information that might help us detail what Arun Bains was doing prior to his death will help us solve this case,” said IHIT spokeswoman Sgt. Stephanie Ashton.
It was a message Carr emphasized.
“People out there have that information. Families have that information,” he said.
“Before another young man or another person is killed, we need you to start coming forward with information to resolve this.”
MLA Harry Bains released the following statement on Thursday:
“First of all, let me thank everyone who reached out to our family with your love and best wishes.
I want to extend a special thanks to the parents who have also lost children to violence. Your visits have given us the courage to go on.
At this point, we know very little about what happened. We are meeting regularly with the RCMP and we urge anyone with any information about this or any crime to come forward. Justice for Arun will not bring him back to us, but it may spare another family the immense pain we are feeling.
I have been an advocate for my community against crime for a long time. I will continue that work, but today I feel we must put a far greater emphasis on prevention. We need to support parents and teachers in early and effective interventions when a young person is following the wrong path.
I will continue to sit down with other families through the coming weeks and I am hopeful that we can form a support group. I will also be speaking out for more help in our education system.
If I can say one thing to all our friends and neighbours; hug your children. Tell them you love them as often as you can.”