Police in London, Ontario, said a brutal
attack on a family Sunday that killed four and seriously injured a 9-year-old boy was a hate crime.
“We believe this was an intentional act and that the victims of this horrific incident were targeted,” Chief Steve Williams
said to reporters at a media briefing Monday. “We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith.”
The family was out for a walk and were waiting for a light at an intersection when a black truck drove over the curb, struck them, and then sped away. Police said that the driver was arrested several miles away from the incident.
The family that was attacked has not been publicly identified because of the wishes of their family members. Williams told reporters that the victims killed included a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl. The 9-year-old boy was in the hospital in serious condition.
He said there was evidence that the attack was premeditated and planned. They identified the suspect as 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman. He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder. Officials say he was wearing a vest that looked like some kind of body armor.
A woman who lived near the intersection of the crash said she witnessed the aftermath of the attack.
“I can’t get the sound of the screams out of my head,” Paige Martin said.
A friend of the family told the Toronto Star that the victims were a family from Pakistan and included a mother, a father, their daughter and a grandmother.
A statement from the National Council of Canadian Muslims called the incident a terrorist attack.
“A man allegedly got in his car, saw a Muslim family walking down the street, and made the decision that they do not deserve to live. He did not know them,” said NCCM CEO Mustafa Farooq.
“This is a terrorist attack on Canadian soil, and should be treated as such,” he added. “We call on the government to prosecute the attacker to the fullest extent of the law, including considering terrorist charges.”
Here’s more about the incident:
Muslim family targeted in fatal hit and run