The mother of Sania Khan, the 29-year-old photographer murdered by her ex-husband in July, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the building where her daughter lived.
Shazia Khan says if security or management had followed their own policies, her daughter would still be alive.
“I’m not going to get my daughter back, but I need justice for her. I don’t want anyone else to go through the pain I’ve been through,” Khan said.
Sania Khan was shot dead in her apartment in Streeterville on July 18. Police say Khan’s ex-husband shot him in the back of the neck before turning the gun on himself.
“Sania Khan’s story is a tragic story that should have been avoided,” said Khan’s attorney, Michael Gallagher.
The lawsuit alleges that Khan’s husband went to the building at 211 E. Ohio St. in Chicago under the false pretense that he wanted to see an apartment for rent. Building surveillance video shows him passing through security without showing identification and entering a secure area.
Raheel Ahmad carried a backpack, which lawyers allege he used to conceal the weapon, and also carried a garment bag with Khan’s wedding dress inside.
“If management or security had followed their policies, they would have checked his ID, they would have known he was on a no-entry list for that building, and he would never have walked through that secure door,” he said. said Gallagher.
Ahmad visited two apartments before telling the rental agent he was done, according to the lawsuit. He was then allowed to go to the 28th floor to “visit friends” unsupervised.
“We believe he had access [to Sania’s apartment] kicking the door open, as evidenced by his facial injury, and shot him in the back of the neck before turning the gun on himself,” Gallagher said.
Khan filed for divorce in December after Ahmad allegedly suffered a mental health crisis. Gallagher said Ahmad attempted suicide and tried to push Khan out of the 28th floor window. He was hospitalized for weeks.
“She did everything she was supposed to do,” Shazia Khan said. “She was scared for her life. She was scared of him. That’s why she had the locks changed. That’s why she took him off the lease.”
“Sania did everything she could in alerting the building and security that Ahmed was a threat,” Gallagher said. “That she felt threatened. The trust she had placed in them was shattered and she died.”
Khan has been open about her struggles with divorce and the stigma surrounding it in her South Asian culture on TikTok.
In a video, she wrote, “Going through a divorce as a South Asian woman sometimes feels like a failure in life. The way the community labels you, the lack of emotional support you receive, and the pressure to stay with someone because ‘what’s going people say they’re isolating. This makes it harder for women to leave marriages they shouldn’t have been in in the first place.
Although in several videos Khan wrote that she felt pressure from her family, her mother said she was supportive of Sania’s decision to move away.
“She had my 100% support. I knew it wasn’t going to work. I was scared for her life,” Khan said.
The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $50,000.
The building and its management company did not respond to NBC 5’s request for comment.