In Canada, four members of a Muslim family killed in a premeditated pickup truck attack
Steph Deschamps / June 8, 2021
Four members of a Muslim family were killed in Canada in a premeditated attack by a man who drove his pickup truck into them, a horrific act of Islamophobia according to Ottawa.
The tragedy, which provoked strong emotions, is the deadliest anti-Muslim attack in Canada since the Quebec City mosque shooting that left six dead in 2017.
A nine-year-old boy from the same family was also hospitalized in serious condition following the attack, which occurred Sunday night in the city of London, 200 km southwest of Toronto.
The suspect, Nathaniel Veltman, 20, fled after the incident, but was quickly arrested seven kilometers from the scene and was charged Monday with four counts of premeditated murder and one count of attempted murder. Police are not ruling out adding possible terrorism charges against him.
There is evidence that this was a premeditated and planned act motivated by hate. We believe the victims were targeted because they were Muslims, said Paul Waight, an investigator with the City of London Police.
There is no known prior connection between the suspect and the victims, he added. The man has no criminal record and no known affiliation with any specific group, police said. He was wearing a vest that resembled a bulletproof vest when he was arrested.
This is an event that should be described as a horrific act of Islamophobia, said Public Safety Minister Bill Blair later in the evening.
Justin Trudeau responds
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was horrified.To the loved ones of those terrorized by yesterday's act of hate, we are here for you. Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hatred is insidious and despicable - and it must stop, tweeted the head of government.
For its part, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) says it is more than horrified and calls for justice after the horrific hate-motivated car attack on a Muslim family in London, Ontario, who were out walking Sunday night .
At about 8:40 p.m. Sunday, police said, the five family members were waiting to cross an intersection when a black pickup truck "drove up on the sidewalk and hit them.
The names of the victims have not been released, but they are a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl, representing three generations of the same family, said London Mayor Ed Holder.
They are believed to be from Pakistan, according to local media.
Many bouquets of flowers were laid all evening Monday at the scene of the tragedy. A vigil in memory of the victims is scheduled for Tuesday early evening in a mosque in the city.
The attack revived painful memories of a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque in January 2017, considered one of the worst such attacks in a Western country, ahead of one in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.
Canadian supremacist Alexandre Bissonnette, then 27 years old, opened fire on worshippers gathered at the Quebec City mosque, killing six people and seriously injuring five others.
The shooter was sentenced to life in prison, but his parole ineligibility period has since been reduced to 25 years from the original 40.