Devastated. Totally broken. Absolutely shocked. Those are the words NDP MLA Harry Bains uses to describe the reaction of relatives after the fatal shooting of his nephew last Sunday in Surrey’s brutal crime wave.
“You never think this would happen to your own extended family,” Bains said Thursday in his first public comments since the death of his nephew, 22-year-old Arun Bains.
“Our family’s totally devastated right now. I’m devastated. We have to recover from it, but it is very, very difficult.”
Arun Bains was shot to death in his car just before 3 a.m. at the intersection of 88A Avenue and 126th Street. There have been no arrests.
Harry Bains, who has been outspoken about crime in his Surrey-Newton riding, heard about a fatal shooting in a news report Sunday morning, but didn’t realize the victim was his own nephew. He even posted the news report on Twitter before Arun Bains had been identified.
“I heard there was a shooting. I heard that one person had died. I had no idea that it was one of our own.”
He said he and his wife, Rajvinder, got the news when they arrived at a relative’s home that morning for a previously scheduled family gathering.
“My wife was the first to get the news. It was like the earth was sinking, shifting from our feet. It was that devastating. It was total shock.”
He said they then rushed to the home of his brother, Arun’s father.
Harry Bains said his brother, a pressman at a printing company, and his brother’s wife are still reeling from the loss of their son.
“They are totally broken,” Harry Bains said.
“I try to support them as much as I can. But it’s news that no parent wants to hear or should hear. No parent should be in a position to bury their child. It doesn’t seem right.”
Arun Bains received a conditional discharge and six months probation on Jan. 29 for marijuana possession, according to Mike Lowe, a spokesman for the NDP at the B.C. legislature.
The marijuana charge related to an incident in Victoria in December 2013 when Arun Bains was attending the University of Victoria, Lowe said Thursday. Lowe said he did not know the quantity of marijuana involved.
Lowe said Harry Bains only became aware of his nephew’s trouble with the law on Wednesday after reviewing court documents.
When a judge hands down a conditional discharge, there is no conviction registered but the offender is given a probation order. The discharge is deleted after three years.
After the shooting, police said Bains was “known to be associated to the people connected to the street-level drug trade conflict.” The family later issued a statement saying Arun was not a criminal or a gang member.
Harry Bains said he saw his nephew about a month ago. “He was bubbly, joking around and having fun,” Bains said.
“He was a very happy guy. The guy was so sweet, he was so respectful, he would go out of his way to talk to you. He wouldn’t say ‘no’ to anyone.”
Bains said his brother is shocked at the suggestion Arun was connected to any sort of criminal activity.
“Talking to his parents, they had no clue,” Bains said. “They had no clue that he would be involved in any of this stuff. They were as shocked as anybody.
“A lot of times parents are the last people to know what’s going on out there.”
He said Arun Bains had attended the University of Victoria and was hoping to enrol at BCIT in a computer program.
Bains said the bereaved parents are appealing to the public for help to catch their son’s killer.
“They are urging anyone who may have any information about this incident or any other criminal activity to please contact police.”