The mother of Sania Khan, the 29-year-old photographer murdered by her estranged husband in July, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the building where her daughter lived.
Shazia Khan says if security or management had followed its own policies, her daughter would still be alive.
"I’m not going to get my daughter back, but I need justice for her. I don’t want anybody else to go through the pain I have gone through," said Khan.
Sania Khan was shot in her Streeterville apartment on July 18. Police said Khan's estranged husband shot her in the back of her head before turning the gun on himself.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
"Sania Khan’s story is a tragic one that should have been prevented," said Khan's attorney, Michael Gallagher.
The lawsuit alleges Khan's husband went to the building at 211 E. Ohio St. in Chicago under the false pretense that he wanted to see an apartment for rent. Surveillance video from the building shows him pass security without showing identification, and entering a secure area.
Raheel Ahmad was wearing a backpack, which attorneys allege he was using to hide the gun, and also carrying a garment bag with Khan's wedding dress inside.
"If either management or security would have followed their policies, they would have checked his ID, they would have known he was on a no entry list for that building, and he would have never gotten past that secure door," said Gallagher.
Ahmad viewed two apartments before telling the leasing agent he was done, according to the lawsuit. He was then allowed to travel to the 28th floor to "visit friends" unsupervised.
"We believe he gained access [to Sania's apartment] by kicking the door open, as evidenced by injury to her face, and shot her in the back of the head before turning the weapon upon himself," said Gallagher.
Khan filed for divorce in December after Ahmad allegedly had a mental health crisis. Gallagher said Ahmad had attempted suicide and tried to push Khan out of their 28th story window. He was hospitalized for weeks.
"She did everything she was supposed to do," said Shazia Khan. "She feared for her life. She was scared of him. That’s why she got the locks changed. That’s why she took him off the lease."
"Sania did everything she could by putting building and security on notice that Ahmed was a threat," said Gallagher. "That she felt threatened. The trust she placed in them was broken, and she died as a result."
Khan was open about her struggles with divorce and the stigma surrounding it in her South Asian culture on TikTok.
In one video she wrote, "Going through a divorce as a South Asian woman feels like you failed at life sometimes. 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."
Although in several videos Khan wrote she felt pressure from her family, her mother said she supported Sania's decision to walk away.
"She had my 100% support. I knew this was not going to work. I was afraid for her life," said Khan.
The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $50,000.
The building and its management company have not responded to NBC 5's request for comment.