Family ‘targeted because of their Muslim faith’ by truck driver in Ontario, say police
TRENTON, Canada — A pickup truck attack that killed four members of a Muslim Pakistani-origin family has shaken Canada, a country where immigrants are largely accepted, and drew denunciations on Tuesday from Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who called it a hate attack directed at Muslims.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his sorrow Monday for the four members of a Muslim family who were killed after a pickup truck driver intentionally plowed into them in London, Ontario.
“I’m horrified by the news from London, Ontario,” the prime minister tweeted. “To the loved ones of those who were terrorized by yesterday’s [Sunday] act of hatred, we are here for you.
I’m horrified by the news from London, Ontario. To the loved ones of those who were terrorized by yesterday’s act of hatred, we are here for you. We are also here for the child who remains in hospital – our hearts go out to you, and you will be in our thoughts as you recover.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 7, 2021
“Islamophobia had no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable – and it must stop.”
Another family member, a boy, 9, was also struck and he is in hospital in serious but not life-threatening condition.
“We are also here for the child who remains in hospital – our hearts go out to you, and you will be in our thoughts as you recover,” Trudeau tweeted.
While names of the victims have not been released, police said the deceased are a 74-year-old woman, a man, 46, a woman, 44, and a 15-year-old girl. The incident occurred about 8:40 p.m. Sunday.
Police said the driver, who was wearing a device similar to body armor, was arrested shortly afterward about seven kilometers (4.3 miles) from the scene.
The driver, Nathaniel Veltman, 20, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder, police said.
“There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act and that the family was targeted because of their Muslim faith,” said London Police Detective Inspector Paul Waight at a press briefing.
At a virtual press conference Monday, the mayor of the city of London also condemned the crime.
“Let me be clear, this was an act of mass murder perpetrated against Muslims, against Londoners, and rooted in unspeakable hatred,” said Mayor Ed Holder.
London is a city of about 405,000 about 200 km (124 miles) southwest of Toronto. Police said the family was walking along a street and had stopped to cross at an intersection when the truck was driven over the curb and hit them.
Veltman was slated to appear in a court later Monday. — AA
(With AP inputs)