Students and staff gathered for a vigil at UBCO, Friday, to honour Harmandeep Kaur the homicide victim who died after an attack on Feb.26.
Kaur was allegedly attacked after working an overnight shift on campus as a security officer. On Feb. 28, Kelowna RCMP reported Kaur had succumbed to her injuries in hospital and officers were investigating her death as a homicide.
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Kaur had been working for Paladin security as an officer at UBCO, hoping to one day attend school there, said family member Kuljit Pabla.
The 24-year-old victim’s co-workers were in attendance at the vigil to lay flowers and pay their respects.
A UBCO security officer and co-worker who requested to remain anonymous said that Kaur was always kind, willing to help anyone in need and that she was “bright and bubbly”.
“She was a great coworker. She always had your back. She made sure that you were safe,” said another Paladin security officer who worked with Kaur. He added that she was a hard worker and always kind.
The suspect in Kaur’s attack was identified shortly after the incident and was apprehended under the Mental Health Act. His name has not been released and he remains in hospital and faces possible murder charges.
A press release from Kelowna RCMP indicated that the suspect was an employee of the university at the time of the attack.
“We’re still waiting for why. Why this happened,” said Paramjit Singh Patara, vice-president of the Okanagan Sikh Temple.
Patara said that the community is wondering, why was she working by herself?
He said news of Kaur’s death has spread back home to India. Youth from Punjab who were planning to move to Canada have been calling Patara for guidance after hearing the news of Kaur’s death.
“They’re having second thoughts,” he said. “It’s frightening for them.”
Kaur’s parents flew in from India and her family has gathered in Squamish for her funeral which will be held Saturday March 5. The Okanagan Sikh temple is hosting a religious ceremony on Monday March 7 at 3 p.m. Patara, said that everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of religion or background.
Lesley Cormack, deputy vice-chancellor and principal at UBCO, issued a statement regarding the attack and stated the campus is working with RCMP to provide any assistance required in the investigation.
During a Feb.28, Kelowna City Council meeting Supt. Kara Triance, reported that three of four homicides in the city last year involved a mental health component.
Kaur’s family has organized a GoFundMe to help pay for travel, funeral and legal fees.