The family of Arun Bains — the first person killed in a recent spate of gun violence in Surrey believed to be linked to gangs — says he was not a criminal.

"Arun was not a criminal. He was not a gang member. He was loved by everyone who knew him," the family said in an emailed statement.

"This is an extraordinarily painful time. Arun was the heart of our family."

The family described Bains as a "fine young man" who had a "bright future ahead of him." He was the nephew of MLA Harry Bains.

Surrey RCMP, however, said the 22-year-old was known to police. He was shot just before 3 a.m. PT Sunday at 126 Street and 88A Avenue in Surrey. 

Bains is the first fatality out of 22 gang-related shootings in past six weeks. 

The RCMP has not confirmed whether this latest shooting is connected to a recent escalation in violence between rival gangs of Somali and South Asian descent in the area, but they did say they believed this was a targeted shooting.

Bains' family is urging anyone with information to contact the police immediately. 

"We are determined to support our community's efforts to end this violence and spare another family this pain."

Special shooting tip line set up

Sue Hammell, the NDP MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, said Surrey is simply not safe and people living in the areas plagued by recent gunfire are worried and frightened. 

"You can't have in a community, bullets flying around, and not inevitably have someone killed or hurt that is an innocent bystander," Hammell said. 

Chief Supt. Bill Fordy, the Surrey RCMP officer in charge of the investigation, said on Monday that a special tip line has been set up — anyone with information about the recent shootings can call 604-915-6566.

He also said police have planned a community forum at Tamanawis High School at 7 p.m. PT on Tuesday. 

Investigators have said they're frustrated by the fact that none of the shooting victims are co-operating with police. Last week, RCMP released the names and pictures of several men they claim are involved in a low-level drug turf war.