Four Dead As Driver Runs Over Muslim Family In London, Ontario

June 08, 2021

By Jaspreet Kaur

A man accused of killing four members of a Canadian Muslim family by running them over in his pickup truck, targeted them in an attack motivated by hate, police said on Monday. The incident killed a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl. The family requested the names not be released, officials said. The sole survivor of the family is a nine-year-old boy, who is in a serious condition. 

Police have charged a 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman with first degree murder and said he didn't know the victims. According to the authorities, the young man was arrested in the parking lot of a nearby mall after the incident in the Ontario city of London.

Police in London, Ontario, citing witnesses, said that 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman jumped the curb in his vehicle on Sunday, struck five members of the family, and then drove off at high speed.

Superintendent Waight said police did not know at this point if the suspect was a member of any specific hate group, and London police were working with federal police and prosecutors to see about potential terrorism charges. He declined to detail evidence pointing to a possible hate crime, but said the attack was planned. "We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith," London Police Chief Stephen Williams said.

"Hate and Islamophobia have no place in Ontario. Justice must be served for the horrific act of hatred that took place in London, Ontario. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends during this difficult time. These heinous acts of violence must stop." Ontario Premier Doug Ford tweeted

Witness Paige Martin told reporters a black truck blasted past her and ran a red light as she was walking, and then she came upon the scene and saw "chaos": "It was just absolutely like something that you never want to see."

 "We grieve for the family, three generations of whom are now deceased. This was an act of mass murder, perpetrated against Muslims, against Londoners, and rooted in unspeakable hatred,” said London Mayor Ed Holder. Muslim groups say the attack was more than a hate crime and have labelled it terrorism.

The attack was the worst against Canadian Muslims since a man gunned down six members of a Quebec City mosque in 2017. Holder said it was the worst mass murder his city had ever seen.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter that he was "horrified" by the news, adding that "Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable - and it must stop."