Dr. Talat Jehan Khan was fatally stabbed multiple times by a man who seemed to come out of nowhere while she was sitting at a picnic table outside her Texas apartment Saturday, Conroe police said.
Several witnesses rushed to help Khan, 52, a Pakistani American and practicing Muslim who worked at Texas Children’s Pediatrics Conroe, and they gave officers descriptions of the incident. Khan was pronounced dead on scene.
Police were dispatched just after 12:30 p.m. local time and arrested Miles Fridrich, 24, on a charge of first-degree murder after a brief chase on foot.
Police Sgt. David Dickinson said police have not yet found evidence to support that the motive was linked to race or ethnicity, but he said they are combing through Fridrich’s social media accounts and computers with search warrants.
Police and Khan’s family said that to their knowledge, she did not know Fridrich.
“So far, it’s appearing that this is completely random,” Dickinson said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, in Texas said it is in conversation with law enforcement about the murder.
“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,” CAIR’s statement read.
Police are still unsure how Fridrich got into the Alys Apartments, the gated luxury complex where Khan lived. Dickinson said that in many of the cases he has dealt with, gates do not work or criminals follow somebody else in.
Khan leaves behind a 14-year-old daughter, a 23-year-old son and a reputation for being a kind, loving doctor.
“Her kids and her kids she looked after as a pediatrician were her entire life. Everything in her life revolved around those two things,” Wajahat Nyaz, Khan’s brother, told NBC affiliate KPRC of Houston.
Nyaz added that his sister moved to Conroe in July from Seattle hoping for more sunshine and warm weather.
Fridrich is in the Montgomery County Jail, and a judge set his bond at $500,000, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said. Police said he has a criminal record involving traffic infractions, drugs and the unlawful carrying of a firearm.
Masjid Al Ansaar, the Conroe mosque that Khan attended, hosted a prayer for her Sunday. The mosque's assistant director, Mohammed Ayubi, told KPRC that he spoke to Khan on Friday.
“She was here; she talked to a whole bunch of people, excited. She was talking about her children, how her children were studying, growing up, and how she was going to start looking for a house,” Ayubi said.
Masjid Al-Sahabah, another mosque in Conroe, expressed condolences for Khan's family. "It is essential for all of us to remain vigilant and prioritize our safety and the safety of our fellow community members," it said in a statement.
CORRECTION (Oct. 30, 2023, 10 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the call letters of NBC's affiliate in Houston. It is KPRC, not KRPC.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com