Sania Khan, 29 found dead in a Chicago condo in a fatal murder-suicide by estranged ex-husband.
A 29-year-old Chicago photographer, Sania Khan, was murdered by her ex-husband in her condominium in Streeterville on Monday afternoon. Her former husband, Raheel Ahmad, 36, travelled from his family home in Georgia to Chicago, where he killed Khan before turning the gun on himself.
Officers arrived at Khan’s building in the 200 block of East Ohio Street around 4:30 p.m. after police in Alpharetta, Ga., requested a well-being check on Raheel Ahmad, 36, the reports state. His family had reported him missing from the Atlanta suburb where he lived.
As officers knocked on the door, they heard a single gunshot and “a verbal groan,” the reports state. Upon entering the room, officers found Khan unresponsive near the door with a gunshot wound to the back of her head and blood on her face. The reports indicate Ahmad was shot in the head and found in a bedroom.
The reports state that he was holding a 9mm Glock handgun, and a suicide note was found nearby. According to Chicago police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office, Khan died at the scene. Ahmad was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he also died. Her death was ruled a homicide, according to the medical examiner’s office. His death was listed as a suicide.
According to her website, Khan was a professional photographer who moved to Chicago from Chattanooga in June 2021.
“I used to love travel so much that I was a flight attendant,” she wrote. “My favorite layover was always Chicago, and who would have known two years later I would have moved there?”
Grant, a friend of Khan’s from high school who didn’t want his last name published, stated that she was planning to move back home this week “to start planning her next move in her photography career.” He said her death “still doesn’t seem real.”
He said that during college, Khan double-majored in psychology and women’s studies as she launched her photography career on the side. After working as a social worker, she became a flight attendant “to support herself becoming a travelling photographer” and pursued her passion full time.
He said she and Ahmad broke up last winter and divorced months later. He declined to comment further on their relationship. While going through her divorce, Khan had been very vocal about marital and personal struggles on her social media.
In one TikTok post, she wrote, “It’s painful to walk away from someone you once loved. But it’s even more painful to love someone who is careless with your heart.”
In another post, she wrote: “Going through a divorce as a South Asian woman feels like you failed at life sometimes,” she wrote. “The way the community labels you, the lack of emotional support you receive, and the pressure to stay with someone because ‘what will people say’ is isolating. It makes it harder for women to leave a marriage that they shouldn’t have been in, to begin with.”
This unfortunate incident sparked discussions on social media about domestic violence and the struggles of going through divorces in many communities. A lot of women posted on social media about feeling trapped in abusive relationships because of fear of what their communities will say and the stigma associated with being a “divorced woman.” it was also reported that Ahmad was allegedly going through some mental health struggles that led to his suicide. This also led to a conversation about mental health, particularly creating a safe environment for both men and women to address their mental health concerns.
According to a report released earlier this month, domestic violence continued to surge in Chicago and across Illinois as pandemic-induced isolation and economic uncertainty made it harder for victims to get help.
A statewide domestic violence hotline received nearly 30,000 calls in 2021, up 5%, and the number of murders and shootings involving domestic relations in Chicago increased almost two-thirds from 2020, according to The Network, a Chicago-based advocacy organization.
These issues are not isolated to Chicago or North America. Many people across the globe experience very similar situations. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as many as 38% of all murders of women globally are committed by intimate partners.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the Provincial Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-877-977-0007/ TTY: 1-888-987-2829. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 to support you.
Image Credit: Photography website of Sania Khan