British Columbia

Victim of fatal attack at UBCO identified as 24-year-old woman from India who dreamed of bright future in B.C.

Harmandeep Kaur, a security guard at the University of B.C.'s Okanagan campus, succumbed to her injuries following an assault on campus on Saturday. According to police, a male university worker was responsible for her death.

Harmandeep Kaur died after she was assaulted on UBC's Okanagan campus while working security

Harmandeep Kaur, 24, was killed in attack at the UBC Okanagan campus in Kelowna on Feb. 26, 2022. (Facebook/Harmandeep Kaur)

A security guard at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus (UBCO) who died after being assaulted on the job Saturday has now been identified as 24-year-old Harmandeep Kaur.

Kaur, who was originally from India, came to Canada in 2015 and, according to a spokesperson for the Kaur family, was excited about pursuing an education, and eventually a family, in B.C.

She had just received her permanent residency and was considering studying to be a paramedic. While working security to try and put money away for school, she was attacked on the Kelowna campus by a male university worker.

The unidentified attacker was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act and taken to hospital, with police saying he could face murder charges.

In the wake of the tragedy, Kaur's relative, Kuljit Pabla, is speaking out on behalf of the many loved ones left behind, including Kaur's parents who Pabla told CBC Tuesday were trying to get to Canada from India as soon as possible.

Kaur also had extended family in the Lower Mainland and Kelowna. 

"She was a family-first person. She cared deeply," said Pabla, adding that with her newly-minted permanent residency status, she was excited about really being able to create the life she wanted for herself.

"She had dreams. She had big dreams. And I know she wanted to start a family here," said Pabla, his voice breaking with emotion.

A makeshift memorial on the university's campus honours the life of 24-year-old Harmandeep Kaur. (Brady Strachan/CBC News)

Pabla said the very campus where Kaur worked had inspired her to keep pursuing her education, after beginning it at Columbia College in Vancouver before relocating to Kelowna to work and save for future academic pursuits.

On Tuesday, bouquets of flowers began to appear at UBCO campus outside the University Centre building where the fatal attack happened just before 6 a.m. Saturday.

Police have said the incident was "isolated" in nature and did not involve students.

Messages of comfort and sorrow collect on the ground outside the University Centre building where the fatal attack happened. (Brady Strachan/CBC News)

Kelowna City Coun. Mohini Singh said the news has rocked the local Indo-Canadian community.

"There are so many foreign students who come here and take jobs that are nighttime jobs and they all knew each other," said Singh. "We're all in shock."

Singh said she has been in contact with members of Kaur's family living in Kelowna who are trying to navigate the tremendous loss.

The attack, said the councillor, is also a "clear indication" that more government help is needed to support mental health needs.

With files from Brady Strachan