A 'history of violence' around man accused of killing UBCO security guard | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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A 'history of violence' around man accused of killing UBCO security guard

FILE PHOTO - Harmandeep Kaur
Image Credit: GOFUNDME/Justice for Harmandeep Kaur

The man charged for killing Harmandeep Kaur in Kelowna is yet to face a trial, but a history of mental illness is likely to be play a role in his defense.

A family member who reached out to iNFOnews.ca said Dante Ognibene-Hebbourn, 22, recently stopped taking his medication for bipolar disorder and believed exercise would substitute it.

The family member added Ognibene-Hebbourn, who has trained in muay thai, began using steroids to supplement his exercise.

Ognibene-Hebbourn is known as a quiet person, who often has difficulty enunciating his words to others. His former muay thai coach in Ontario, Roger Lumyoung, recalled dedicating more time with Ognibene-Hebbourn than some other students because he wanted to "raise his confidence." 

Lumyoung's comments were mirrored by the family member, leaving the alleged murder as a shock. The family member added, however, "there is a history of violence in the family."

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The family member requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

Ognibene-Hebbourn was arrested under the Mental Health Act on the night Kaur was assaulted. He was taken to hospital that night and Kelowna RCMP later announced they were investigating it as a homicide on Feb. 28.

He was working at the university for a janitorial company contracted by UBC Okanagan after he had moved to Kelowna roughly a year ago.

Dante Ognibene-Hebbourn, 22, is facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of Harmandeep Kaur, who was assaulted on Feb. 26, 2022, at UBC Okanagan.
Dante Ognibene-Hebbourn, 22, is facing a second-degree murder charge in the death of Harmandeep Kaur, who was assaulted on Feb. 26, 2022, at UBC Okanagan.

The unnamed family member is not sure of the circumstances that led to the alleged murder, but does not believe it was related to any political or racial motivation. Previous iNFOnews.ca reporting mentioned a Twitter account under the unusual name Dante Ognibene supporting far-right political parties, but the family member said he's "not a political person" and suggested it was not his.

"If you mention politics, he will walk the other way."

While the family member is surprised by the charge, they said he could be "capable" of violence given his martial arts training, his history of mental illness and family history.

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"I love him, but if he did this and he was locked up forever, I wouldn't be upset."

Kaur, 24, died in hospital after she was assaulted at the UBC Okanagan campus on Feb. 26.

Originally from Kapurthla, Punjab, India, Kaur came to Canada in 2015 with the dream to become a paramedic. She recently received her permanent residency status and had worked to support herself.

Her family called her "Haha," which is the pronunciation of the "H" character in Punjabi.

The family remembers her as a positive person with a determined spirit, and her parents were expected to visit her the month she died, following her approval of her permanent residency earlier this year, according to the fundraiser.

Organized by Kuljit Pabla, the fundraiser has now collected more than $80,000 for her family, which is expected to be used for their travel, funeral expenses and potential legal costs.

A funeral service was held in Squamish last month, where some of Kaur's family lives. Her parents arrived from India to attend.

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In Kelowna, the Okanagan Sikh community held prayer services and offered mental health supports for its community in the wake of Kaur's death.

"It sends shockwaves through the whole community," Okanagan Sikh Temple president Armarjit Lalli said. "It's another act of violence against women and it's really tragic."

Court records show his case is scheduled to appear in Kelowna Law Courts to fix a date on April 20. On April 6, his bail hearing was subject to a publication ban.

— With files from the Canadian Press.

- This story was updated April 29, 2022, to include a link to another iNFOnews story.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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