On Nov. 28, shoppers were filing into a Nordstrom store in downtown Chicago on Black Friday, when a man walked up to the third floor, approached an employee and shot her. He then turned the gun on himself.
Nadia Ezaldein died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital as a result of her injuries. The gunman, her ex-boyfriend Marcus Dee, died at the scene.
Ezaldein was just 22 years old, a law student at the University of Chicago. She was working a seasonal job to help pay for school. She was also terrified of her ex-boyfriend and his violent behavior towards her—terrified his family connections to the police department would protect him if he came after her. She was terrified to ask for help from the justice system because, as she told a relative, she thought his police officer parents could "cover it up."
According to the Chicago Tribune, she started dating Dee two years ago. The relationship was filled with turmoil, and Dee repeatedly physically abused her. During a 2013 incident, he became so violent he put a gun in her mouth and threatened her. Ezaldein went to the hospital as a result of the incident and shortly afterwards ended the relationship.
In the year since, Dee had harassed both the woman and her family members by making threatening calls to her father and siblings, family members said. The victim changed her number three times as a result, they said.
Dee reportedly called Ezaldein many times of the course of a year, threatening her and threatening to kill himself. "He called the entire family, consistently texting. He Googled my entire family," her sister, Nagah Ezaldein, said. Dee reportedly accused Ezaldein's sister of stalking him, and tried to get a protective order.
On April 7, Dee filed a petition for a no contact order, citing stalking, against the victim's sister. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Ramirez denied that request the same day. The next day, the victim's sister filed a similar petition seeking a restraining order. That was denied the same day by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Caroline Kate Moreland.
People magazine reports what happened when Nagah Ezaldein tried to get a restraining order on behalf of her sister Nadia:
One of [Nagah Ezaldein]'s complaints was that "he physically abused my sister, cracked her ribs, punched her jaw and fractured it, ripped all of her clothing, stabbed her jacket with a switch knife, ripped her boots, and bruised her lip." He also and most alarming, allegedly "put a gun in her mouth."
"Is there something wrong with her?" Judge Caroline Moreland was quoted asking Nagah at the April 8 hearing.
"Yeah, she's being threatened by her ex-boyfriend," Nagah said.
When the judge asked her if there was something that was physically barring her from coming to court, Nagah told her no, but that "she's scared to come here."
Nagah was told that whoeever the person is being stalked has to be physically present.
"Okay. She has to file this. She has to come here," Moreland said. "Certain legal procedures have to be followed. Okay?"
The request for a protective order was denied. Nadia Ezaldein wanted to get a protective order against Dee, but was reportedly too scared of his family's law enforcement connections. Both of Dee's parents are police officers.
Ezaldein also tried to request an order of protection but backed out of the request when Dee threatened to kill himself if she went through with it, family members said. Relatives said the woman was also hesitant to report abuse or harassment because Dee's parents were police officers.
"She thought his parents could cover it up," a sister said.
"She's the smartest person I know," said her sister. "She didn't deserve to die."