Family of Calgary domestic homicide victim demands better protection for victims

Click to play video: 'Deadly domestic incident outside Calgary elementary school sends shockwaves throughout community'
Deadly domestic incident outside Calgary elementary school sends shockwaves throughout community
WATCH: Reactions continued to pour in on Wednesday following a domestic incident that left a woman dead outside John Costello Catholic School in Calgary’s southwest. – Jan 17, 2024

The family of a Calgary homicide victim is demanding better protections for those experiencing domestic violence.

On Tuesday, Calgary police responded to reports of an incident outside of an elementary school in the 300 block of Strathcona Drive Southwest at around 7:40 a.m. Police said one woman was declared deceased at the scene with what is believed to be stab wounds. Police said they believed it was a targeted incident.

One elementary school and one preschool in the area were put into lockdown as a precaution, but no staff or students were at risk at any time, police said.

Police said the suspect was found nearby deceased and there is no risk to the public. The incident is believed to be domestic in nature.

Both the victim and the suspect cannot be named due to a publication ban. The victim was the suspect’s former wife.

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“I think what was most shocking is how it was done just during the day in front of a school … That was really, really disturbing,” said Racha El-Dib, the older sister of another domestic violence victim who was killed in 2019.

“There was no news on Facebook or Instagram. It was just a random post on this group that I follow where I found out the news, and it was really shocking because it feels like there hasn’t been anything that’s happened in Calgary recently.

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“I feel this (incident) has shifted just to bring more awareness about (domestic violence).”

El-Dib told Global News the scariest part of the whole ordeal was finding out the suspect was known to police.

The Calgary Police Service confirmed in a release on Wednesday evening that there were active warrants issued as of Tuesday morning for the suspect’s arrest in relation to domestic charges.

The case will be strongly recommended to Alberta’s Family Violence Death Review Committee to be selected for review, police said, and CPS will be conducting its own internal review to determine if anything else could have been done.

“Legally, (my sister) did everything right, as society says. And she still, unfortunately, ended up being a victim, ” El-Dib said.

“I think it really brings to light the issue that a single piece of paper isn’t enough and that it unfortunately doesn’t stop these situations from happening. I do believe that there needs to be more done to protect any victim that’s unfortunately been exposed to domestic violence or abused.”

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Domestic violence can happen to anybody: El-Dib

El-Dib said her sister was a bubbly and extroverted person who would leave an impact on anybody she met.

Her sister wanted to become a lawyer and was working to complete her legal assistant diploma at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology before she died.

“There were hundreds and hundreds of people (at her funeral) … It was jam-packed with people and it was standing room only,” she told Global News.

“She was also very loyal. She was really funny. She had a really good sense of humour. She was very loving. She was like the glue of our family.”

El-Dib said her sister’s death highlights how domestic violence can happen to anybody. There were no direct signs of domestic violence or abuse, she said.

“These types of situations where it’s not like the stereotypical thing of what we see on the media, it really shocks our society, which is so unfortunate because anybody was a victim of this should have their stories told,” El-Dib added.

“To see somebody who took those right steps and still ending up being a victim was really difficult to see.”

El-Dib and her family set up a foundation in her sister’s name to bring more awareness to domestic violence. A bursary was set up in honour of the victim to provide three years’ worth of financial assistance to a student who is thinking of attending SAIT’s legal assistant program.


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