WORLD / AMERICAS
Muslim family of four killed in ‘premeditated’ Canada truck attack
Published: Jun 08, 2021 06:48 PM
A family came to pay respects at the scene where a man driving a truck killed four members of a Muslim family in London on Monday. Photo: AFP

A family comes to pay respects at the scene where a man driving a truck killed four members of a Muslim family in London on Monday. Photo: AFP

A man driving a pick-up truck slammed into and killed four members of a Muslim family in Canada's Ontario province, in what police and officials said Monday was a premeditated attack motivated by "hatred."

A 20-year-old suspect wearing a vest "like body armor" fled the scene on Sunday evening, and was arrested at a mall seven kilometers from the intersection in London, Ontario where the attack happened, said Detective Superintendent Paul Waight.

"There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate. It is believed that these victims were targeted because they were Muslim," he told a news conference.

Canada's Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair described it as a "horrific act of Islamophobia."

"They believe the family was targeted because of their faith, and that the attacker was motivated by his hatred of Muslims," he said. 

The names of the victims were not released, but they include a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl - together representing three generations of the same family, according to London Mayor Ed Holder.

A 9-year-old boy was also hospitalized following the attack and is recovering.

Bouquets of flowers were seen at the scene of the attack. A vigil in memory of the victims is set to take place Tuesday at a local mosque.

The suspect, identified as Nathaniel Veltman, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. 

Waight said local authorities are also liaising with federal police and the attorney general about adding "possible terrorism charges."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he was "horrified" by the attack.

"To the loved ones of those who were terrorized by yesterday's act of hatred, we are here for you," he said in a statement, singling out the nine-year-old in hospital.

"To the Muslim community in London and to Muslims across the country, know that we stand with you. Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable - and it must stop," Trudeau added.

AFP
blog comments powered by Disqus