Scene where Nadia Ezaldein was fatally shot / Photo by Eric Clark
BY TINA SFONDELES AND BECKY SCHLIKERMAN
A high-achieving University of Chicago student was fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend as she worked at a Downtown department store on Black Friday.
And on Friday night — on one of the busiest shopping days of the year — Dee walked into the accessories department at the Nordstrom at 55 E. Grand Ave., “exchanged words” with Ezaldein and shot her, authorities say.
Dee, who hit Ezaldein in the head or neck, then turned his gun on himself. He died inside the store.
It was her birthday Friday, they said.
“It was like months and months of psychological torment,” Ezaldein’s brother said of his sister’s rocky relationship with Dee. “I would say there was a lot of emotionally traumatizing phrases and words.”
Ezaldein’s sister — who like her brother asked not to be named — said Ezaldein dated Dee from August 2012 until she broke up with him in December 2013. Dee continued to abuse her sister after that, she said.
He’d call and threaten to hurt or kill himself, forcing Ezaldein to change her phone number several times, she said.
“He called the entire family, consistently texting,” the sister said. “He Googled my entire family.”
Dee went as far as attempting to file a restraining order against Ezaldein’s sister, court records show. The next day, the sister responded in kind. But Cook County judges denied both petitions.
Family members remembered Ezaldein, who grew up in Florida, as a bright young woman who graduated from a Fort Lauderdale high school at the age of 16.
She received a scholarship from a foundation in South Florida because she had the most community service hours of her entire graduating class, said Carol Zeber, of the group Quota International of Fort Lauderdale.
Ezaldein’s high school college advisor described Ezaldein as a soft-spoken honor student who was wise beyond her years.
“She had understanding of the world and was very articulate and had a nice sense of humor,” Susan O’Day said.
Ezaldein was studying law at the University of Chicago, while also working at Nordstrom to support herself, her family said. Police said Ezaldein was a seasonal worker.
The university confirmed Ezaldein had been previously enrolled at the school, but said that she was not enrolled for the fall semester.
Dee’s family could not be reached, but a police source said he is the son of Chicago Police officers.
Nordstrom was closed Saturday. A sign posted the store said “Due to the tragic situation that occurred in our store yesterday, our store is closed today, Saturday, November 29th.”
Shoppers were stunned to find out about the shooting.
“Wow — You would never think it would happen here,” Rashmi Sridharan, 29, said. “It’s very sad.”
The tragedy turned what the Ezaldein family had hoped would be a weekend of celebration to intense mourning.
Ezaldein’s sister had come to town to celebrate Ezaldein’s birthday.
“I came here on Thursday to surprise her,” she said. “And then she had to go to work on her birthday.
“I was waiting for her but she never came home.”