Photo by Kat Wilcox via Wikimedia Commons
Authorities have identified the man suspected of killing four members of a Canadian Muslim family by running them over with a pickup truck, Reuters reports. They believe he targeted the family because of their Islamic faith.
The attack occurred on Sunday night near Hyde Park and South Carriage roads in London, Canada. A black pickup truck mounted the curb and hit a family of five as they were waiting to cross the intersection, the London Free Press reports.
Emergency responders arrived at the intersection around 8:40 p.m. They pronounced a 74-year-old woman dead at the scene. A 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl died at the hospital. Officials say a nine-year-old boy survived the incident with non-life-threatening injuries.
Officials have not released the victim’s names, but the London Free Press identified the 46-year-old man and 44-year-old woman as parents Syed Afzaal and Madiha Salman. They say the 15-year-old girl is Yumnah Afzaal.
Police have identified the suspect as 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman, who is from London, CNN reports. Veltman has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. Police believe he was targeting Muslims.
“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,” Detective Superintendent Paul Waight of the London Police said, according to CNN. “There is no known previous connection between the suspect and the victims.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement of solidarity and support.
“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,” Trudeau said, according to CNN.
“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,” he added.
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