A professional photographer who posted about her divorce on TikTok was killed by her ex-husband, who then turned the gun on himself, Chicago police say.
Sania Khan, a 29-year-old Pakistani-American living in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood, was moving on with her life after divorcing her 36-year-old husband, Raheel Ahmad. Khan posted uplifting messages on TikiTok about what it meant to be a South Asian woman going through a divorce.
“Going through a divorce as a South Asian woman feels like you failed at life sometimes,” Khan posted in June. “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 marriages that they shouldn’t have been in to begin with.”
On July 18, Chicago police officers went to Khan’s apartment looking for her husband, who had been reported missing by his family from his home in Alpharetta, Georgia.
His family had asked for a well-being check on Ahmad, but he was not home. An Alpharetta police officer told officers in Chicago that Ahmad and his wife were going through a divorce and that he had traveled to Chicago “to salvage the marriage,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Friends of Khan, however, told the outlet that the divorce had been finalized in May.
When police knocked on the door to Khan’s apartment, they heard a single gunshot followed by a “verbal groan,” according to police reports obtained by the Sun-Times.
Police entered the residence and found Khan near the door with a gunshot wound to the back of her head and dried blood on her face. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Ahmad was found in a bedroom with a gunshot to the head, holding a handgun with a suicide note nearby, according to the police reports. Ahmad was taken to a hospital but died of his injuries.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office ruled Ahmad’s death a suicide and Khan’s a homicide.
Grant, a friend of Khan’s, told the Sun-Times that Khan was starting to plan “her next move in her photography career.”
“She could make a friend out of anyone and would always be there for them during their moments,” he told the outlet. “You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say something bad about Sania because just knowing Sania added so much light to your life.”