Ontario, MINA – A 20-year-old Canadian man Nathaniel Veltman has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one attempted murder after driving his pickup truck into a Muslim family. The family consists of grandmother, mother, father and daughter.
They died on Sunday night when Veltman rammed his truck into a group of pedestrians in the city of London, Ontario, Canada. The only survivor was a nine year old boy. He was seriously injured and is in the hospital, The Guardian reported.
London Police Service Chief Steve Williams said Monday investigators believe this was a deliberate act and the victims were targeted because they were Muslim. Veltman was wearing a vest like body armor when police arrested him in the mall parking lot after he fled the scene.
Previously, Veltman had no trace of a criminal. At this time, the police still do not know whether the perpetrator belongs to a hate group.
“This is an act of mass murder perpetrated against Muslims and rooted in hatred,” said London Mayor Ed Holder.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to the incident in a tweet.
“Islamophobia has no place in Canada. This hate is dangerous and despicable and it must stop,” Trudeau said.
In recent years, there has been a record number of violence experienced by Muslims in Canada. From 2015 to 2019, the National Council of Muslim Canada (NCCM) tracked more than 300 incidents, including more than 30 acts of physical violence.
These included a gun attack at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center on January 29, 2017 that killed six people and injured 19 in one of the deadliest mass shootings.
NCCM CEO Mustafa Farooq said the victims were known to be longtime members and compassionate members of the Muslim community in London.
“This is a terrorist attack in Canada. This has an impact on public unrest. Something has to change to end violence against Muslims in Canada,” he said. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)