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The father of a man accused of killing a security guard is speaking out, describing circumstances leading up to the tragic day.

Dante Ognibene-Hebbourn’s mental health was in a steep decline the weeks before Feb. 26, the night he was accused of fatally attacking a UBC Okanagan security guard, his father, Nicholas Hebbourn, says.

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“I was so concerned about (Dante’s) health that I had called (Interior Health). I had asked them to come pick him up. I had asked them to take him to the hospital,” Hebbourn said.

“I had to explain to them for six hours over the phone that I was in fear that he was going to hurt himself or inflict something on himself or we were going to lose him.”

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Hebbourn claims he was then redirected to a crisis intervention team.

“I gave them Dante’s address, I gave them Dante ‘s information. I let them know that I was very concerned for his well-being… I was concerned that maybe he might try to take his own life,” he said.

“I was never concerned about him inflicting pain on anybody else because this has never been the situation with my son.”

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Hebbourn said that a member of the crisis team spoke to Dante and eventually got back to him and said the matter could wait until Monday.

Interior Health declined the opportunity to comment on Hebbourn’s allegations, saying it’s a matter that is before the courts.

It did explain, however, the process of a mental-health wellness check.

In an email, Interior Health said:

This was a tragic incident and Interior Health would like to offer our condolences to our condolences to everyone impacted. Interior Health cannot speak to any details about an individual or individual situation that is before the courts. Crisis Response Teams and our 24/7 Interior Crisis Line Network can be engaged by individuals or their loved ones to access urgent support. Individuals who engage these services will be provided an assessment by a mental health clinician and offered appropriate supports. Interior Health cannot hold or involuntarily admit an individual outside of very specific and limited criteria under the Mental Health Act, nor can Interior Health force people to accept treatment.”

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Hebbourn said Dante was having issues with his mental health in Ontario and his mom sent him to live with him in the Okanagan, in hopes that would make things better.

When Dante arrived in Kelowna in February 2020, Hebbourn said his son was taking injections for psychosis at the hospital, under the direction of Interior Health.

In October or November of 2021, the father claimed the psychosis medication was stopped upon doctor’s orders.

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Hebbourn also became friends with the other people who worked at the university, including Harmandeep Kaur, the young woman Dante is accused of killing.

“Harmandeep was my friend. What a lot of people didn’t know is that me and Dante knew that woman very well,” he said.

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“I’m a graveyard shift management supervisor. I deal with security eight hours every night, five days a week. This woman became our friend, she was one of Dante’s favorite security guards.”

Dante liked to talk to her and another security guard every night, Hebbourn said. They’d hang out and look up music on Spotify.

He remembers her as a very nice woman, and said her death is “tragic.”

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Dante was apprehended under the Mental Health Act in the immediate aftermath of the attack on Harmendeep Kaur. A month later he was charged with her murder.

He is still in custody and Hebbourn speaks with him regularly on the phone.

Kaur, 24, was working as a security guard at UBC Okanagan and RCMP said it was Feb. 26 at 5:55 a.m. when she was fatally attacked by someone else who worked on the campus.

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She was a student at Okanagan College and recently got her permanent residency card. Her family said she’d been in the country for five years and had aspirations to be a paramedic.

Hundreds of people gathered at the university campus to honor her and it lowered its flags to half-mast in the days after her death.

The GoFundMe page set up to help her family is titled “Justice for Harmandeep Kaur” has raised more than $80,000.

“At this point, we want justice for Harmandeep and her senseless, unprovoked, and devastating death,” the fundraiser states.

“Her life was taken far too soon. The money raised will be essential in helping her family with travel and funeral costs as well as potential legal costs as we pursue justice for Harmandeep.”

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