HomeCrimeMan sentenced to life after driving his truck into Muslim family

Man sentenced to life after driving his truck into Muslim family

An “admitted White nationalist” who intentionally drove his pickup truck into a Muslim family, killing four people, was sentenced to life in prison Thursday. 

Nathaniel Veltman, who had previously been sentenced to a concurrent life sentence for attempted murder in 2021, was found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in November of last year, according to CBC

Justice Renee Pomerance, who presided over the trial, ruled that the suspect’s actions amounted to terrorism and called for the most severe penalty under Canadian law, according to ABC News

“The offender did not know the victims. He had never met them. He killed them because they were Muslim,” said justice Renee Pomerance, who presided over the trial, to ABC News. “It is an inescapable conclusion that the offender committed a terrorist act. One might go so far as to characterize this as a textbook example of terrorist motive and intent.”

The Afzaal family, who were going on a walk in June 2021 before being struck by Veltman’s vehicle, included 15-year-old Yumna Afzaal, her parents 46-year-old Salman Afzaal and 44-year-old Madiha Salman and her 74-year-old grandmother Talat Afzaal, CBC reported.

The parents’ 9-year-old son was seriously hurt and taken to the hospital after the attack, surviving his injuries. 

“The terrorism designation acknowledges the hate that fueled this,” said Tabinda Bukhari, Madiha’s mother, in statement in front of the courthouse, CBC reported. “But this hate didn’t exist in a vacuum. It thrived in the whispers, the prejudices, the normalized fear of the other. All of these played their part in the tragedy that unfolded.”

Veltman testified in the trial that he felt an “urge” to hit the Afzaal family after he identified they were Muslim through their clothing and appearance, according to ABC News

Prosecutors of the trial argued that Veltman intended to commit violence with the goal of intimidating the Muslim community into moving out of Canada. The defense argued his existing mental health issues prevents him from being criminally liable.

Pomerance, who delivered her sentencing decision in London, Ontario, Thursday, described Veltman as “a voracious consumer of extremist right-wing internet content” who believed in the superiority of the white race.

“There is white supremacy in Canada. It is a threat. It is terrorism,” said Ali Islam, an Afzaal family member.

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