Texas police haven’t disclosed whether this was a hate crime, but a Muslim advocacy group says it’s closely monitoring the investigation
A pediatrician was fatally stabbed at a picnic table outside her home in Conroe, Texas, Saturday, by a 24-year-old assailant in what some fear may have been a hate crime, according to local media.
Dr. Talat Jehan Khan, 52, was sitting in the common area of the Alys Apartment Complex when Miles Fridrich allegedly knifed her repeatedly at about 12:30 p.m., KHOU reported.
A witness told the local station that the mother-of-two had been sitting outside chatting on the phone with her dog nearby when the man “came out of nowhere” and attacked her in front of neighbors and children.
Another witness, Matthew Amador, told KPRC that he heard the sound of children screaming and rushed outside with his sword and his phone.
“The perpetrator was checking her pulse, which was really bad. I saw him checking her pulse, and then he stabbed her three times. Then as I yelled, ‘Hey,’ he turned around and looked at me then ran,” Amador said. “I’ve never seen evil like that in my life.”
Police set up a perimeter and nabbed the suspect minutes later.
Officials haven’t disclosed a motive for the slaying or said whether they’re probing a possible hate crime, but the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Houston said it is tracking the case closely.
“We are unsure at this moment if this was a hate crime, however, given the tragic circumstances, we are paying very close attention to the investigation,” the organization said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation while we launch our own investigation and continue established dialogue with law enforcement.”
Khan was a devout Muslim who had moved from Seattle to the greater Houston area with her 14-year-old daughter in July and worked at Texas Children’s Pediatrics, according to her family.
The slain doctor’s older brother, Wajahat Nyaz, said she had made the move to the south for the weather. “She wanted to go somewhere it was sunny,” he said. He added that everything in her life revolved around her son and daughter and her patients.
Khan’s niece, Mahnoor Mangrio, said the family is devastated.
“This is an immeasurable loss for our family, completely unexpected,” Mangrio told KHOU. “She’s a Muslim, strong in her faith, those are identifiable traits about her. She’s extremely loving, kind.”
A lawyer for Fridrich couldn’t immediately be identified. He’s being held at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office on one count of first-degree murder.
The Conroe Police Department and the Montgomery County District Attorney didn’t immediately return requests for comment.