Muslim family in the south of Canada’s Ontario province, in what police said on Monday was a “premeditated” attack.man driving a pickup truck rammed into and killed four members of a
As per the reports, a 20-year-old suspect wearing a vest “like body armour” fled the scene after the attack on Sunday evening, and was arrested at a mall seven kilometres from the intersection in London, Ontario where it 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.
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.
At about 8:40pm on Sunday, according to police, the five family members were walking together along a sidewalk when a black pickup truck “mounted the curb and struck” them as they waited to cross the intersection.
One woman who witnessed the aftermath of the deadly crash said she couldn’t stop thinking about the victims. Paige Martin said she was stopped at a red light around 8:30pm when a large pick-up roared past her. She said her car shook from the force.
“I was shaken up, thinking it was an erratic driver,” Martin said.
Minutes later, she said, she came upon a gruesome, chaotic scene at an intersection near her home, with first responders running to help, a police officer performing chest compressions on one person and three other people lying on the ground. A few dozen people stood on the sidewalk and several drivers got out of their cars to help.
“I can’t get the sound of the screams out of my head,” Martin said.
From her apartment, Martin said she could see the scene and watched an official drape a sheet over one body about midnight. “My heart is just so broken for them,” she said.
Zahid Khan, a family friend, said the three generations among the dead were a grandmother, father, mother and their teenage daughter. The family had immigrated from Pakistan 14 years ago and were dedicated, decent and generous members of the London Muslim Mosque, he said.
Identified as Nathaniel Veltman, the suspect has been charged with four counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he was “horrified” by the attack.
“To the loved ones of those who were terrorised by yesterday’s act of hatred, we are here for you,” he said, 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.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 7, 2021
Calling it a “condemnable act of terrorism”, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the incident revealed growing Islamophobia in Western countries. “Islamophobia needs to be countered holistically by the international community,” he said.
Saddened to learn of the killing of a Muslim Pakistani-origin Canadian family in London, Ontario. This condemnable act of terrorism reveals the growing Islamophobia in Western countries. Islamophonia needs to be countered holistically by the international community.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) June 8, 2021
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said three generations of Pakistani-Canadians were killed in a “brutal act of mass murder for their Muslim faith”.
“This is an act of terror rooted in unspeakable hatred and Islamophobia. Extend our deepest sympathy to the family members and pray for recovery of the only survivor; a little boy,” he said.
3 generations of Pakistani-Canadians were killed in a brutal act of mass murder for their Muslim faith. This is an act of terror rooted in unspeakable hatred & Islamophobia.
Extend our deepest sympathy to the family members & pray for recovery of the only survivor; a little boy.
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) June 8, 2021