Photographer Sania Khan moved to Chicago amid a divorce to start a new chapter in life—but that freedom would be short-lived.
Authorities believe Khan’s ex-husband, Raheel Ahmad, 36, traveled from his home in Georgia to kill Khan in her Chicago condo before taking his own life just moments after police knocked on the door, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.
Chicago Police arrived at an apartment in the 200 block of E. Ohio around 4:30 p.m. on Monday to conduct a welfare check at the home, according to a police statement to Oxygen.com.
Ahmad’s family had reported him missing from Alpharetta, Georgia and an officer reached out to Chicago Police after the family said a depressed Ahmad had traveled to the city “to salvage the marriage,” with Khan, a 29-year-old professional photographer, according to reports obtained by the local paper.
Police officers knocked on the door Monday afternoon and then heard a single gunshot ring out, followed by a “verbal groan,” the report stated.
They gained entry to the property and discovered Khan unresponsive by the door and Ahmad, still clutching a 9 mm Glock handgun, in the bedroom of the property.
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Both victims had gunshot wounds to the head, police told Oxygen.com.
Khan was pronounced dead at the scene, while Ahmad was taken to Northwestern Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Although Chicago Police did not identify the victims by name, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed their identities to Oxygen.com.
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Khan’s death has been ruled a homicide, while the medical examiner’s office determined that Ahmad died from a suicide.
Investigators also reportedly found a suicide note not far from his body, according to the police reports.
Khan, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, moved to Chicago in 2021, according to her website.
“I used to love travel so much that I was a flight attendant. My favorite layover was always Chicago and who would have known 2 years later I would have moved there?” she wrote.
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She said photography had been a “huge part of my identity” for years.
“I put my heart and soul into every picture I capture,” she said. “Working with me is choosing someone that lives and breathes creating art but also wants her clients to relive their favorite memories with a smile.”
But her life had also been marred by domestic violence, according to a social media post by one of Khan’s friends.
Naty Alva said she had spent hours having “endless conversations” with Khan about how they both wanted to “change the path for our communities and be the voice for people who experienced domestic violence.”
She described Khan as a woman who was “genuinely one of a kind” and always there to offer support to others.
“My friend was someone who took all the right steps. She left. She had a restraining order. She changed her locks. She had an endless amount of friends who supported her unconditionally and checked on her. She did everything and went above and beyond to keep herself safe,” Alva wrote. “I can wholeheartedly say this is a human who deserved so much more than what this cruel world gave her.”
Khan herself was open about her divorce struggles on TikTok, describing the work she had done to find herself and the challenges of being a divorced woman in South Asian Muslim culture.
“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 marriage that they shouldn’t have been in to begin with.”
In another 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.”
Two of her friends told The Chicago Sun-Times that her divorce had been finalized in May.