Students and staff gathered for a vigil at UBCO on Friday in honor of Harmandeep Kaur, the homicide victim who died after a February 26 attack.
Kaur was allegedly attacked after working night shifts on campus as a security guard. On February 28, Kelowna RCMP reported that Kaur had succumbed to his injuries in hospital and officers were investigating his death for homicide.
Kaur worked for Paladin security as an officer at UBCO, hoping to one day attend school there, family member Kuljit Pabla said.
Colleagues of the 24-year-old victim were present at the vigil to lay flowers and pay their respects.
A security guard and UBCO colleague who asked to remain anonymous said Kaur was always kind, willing to help anyone in need and was “brilliant and bubbly”.
“She was a great colleague. She always had your back. She made sure you were safe,” said another Paladin security guard who worked with Kaur. He added that she was a hard worker. fierce and always kind.
The suspect in the Kaur 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 Kelowna RCMP press release said the suspect was a university employee at the time of the attack.
“We are still waiting why. Why did this happen,” said Paramjit Singh Patara, Vice President of the Okanagan Sikh Temple.
Patara said the community wondered why was she working alone?
He said news of Kaur’s death had spread in India. Young people from Punjab planning to move to Canada called Patara for advice after hearing the news of Kaur’s death.
“They have doubts,” he said. “It’s scary for them.”
Kaur’s parents flew in from India and her family gathered in Squamish for her funeral which will be held on Saturday March 5. The Okanagan Sikh Temple is holding a religious ceremony on Monday, March 7 at 3 p.m. Patara said everyone was welcome, regardless of religion or origin.
UBCO Deputy Vice Chancellor and Principal Lesley Cormack released a statement regarding the attack and said the campus was working with the RCMP to provide all necessary assistance in the investigation.
At a Feb. 28 city council meeting in Kelowna, Supt. Kara Triance, reported that three of four homicides in the city last year involved a mental health component.
Kaur’s family organized a GoFundMe to help pay for travel, funeral and legal expenses.
City of Kelownameurre