The family of a young woman who was killed at UBC Okanagan over the weekend says they are ‘just devastated.’
Harmandeep Kaur, 24, was working as a security guard at UBCO when she was assaulted by a man who also worked at the university, and she later died in hospital.
“We are devastated for sure. It happened Saturday but she passed away on Sunday. It is very surreal, we can’t comprehend what has happened,” said her family member, Kuljit Pabla.
According to the family, Kaur was a student at the Okanagan College and had recently got her permanent residency card.
“She came from India five years ago to progress her life. She did some schooling in the Lower Mainland first and to further herself to get her permanent residency, she came to Kelowna and worked many jobs to do that,” said Pabla.
“Her goal was to continue her education once she saved up enough money. Just how could it happen now — the kids she saw at the university she said she wanted to be there, too. The family is devastated.”
“It just seems very senseless, no one deserves this, but she certainly didn’t.”
The community is also mourning the loss of Kaur and a small memorial has been set up at UBCO near the area where she was found.
“This basically sent shock waves through the community. I have daughters and granddaughters, so this really touched me. I just don’t understand how this could’ve happened,” said Paramjit Patara, vice-president of the Okanagan Sikh Temple.
He said the community also has a lot of questions about how the young woman found herself in that position.
“We believe Canada and especially Kelowna is safe and if this person was mentally unstable why was he working. Nothing can be done now, but this could have been prevented,” said Patara.
Kelowna city councilor Mohini Singh echoed the same concerns.
“What was this young, petite, 24-year-old woman doing working alone at night? Where was the security for her while she was providing security for everyone else? Where were the systems in place to protect her?” said Singh.
“If this man was mentally ill, why was he is working in an environment with students and young people, what if this happened to more people?”
RCMP say they were called to UBCO at 5:55 a.m. following reports of an assault. The suspect was apprehended under the Mental Health Act shortly after. Her remains are in hospital while a homicide investigation is underway.