Canada Truck driver kills a Muslim family and police described as a “premeditated” incident, a man driving a pickup truck crashed into and murdered four members of a Muslim family in the south of Canada’s Ontario province.
According to Detective Superintendent Paul Waight, a 20-year-old suspect wearing a vest “like body armour” left the site after the incident on Sunday evening and was apprehended at a mall seven kilometres (four miles) from the crossroads in London, Ontario, where it occurred.
“There is proof that this was a calculated, planned crime driven by hatred. “These victims are believed to have been targeted because they were Muslim,” he said during a press conference.
The victims’ identities have not been disclosed, but they include a 74-year-old lady, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman, and a 15-year-old child, representing three generations of the same family, according to London mayor Ed Holder.
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Following the incident, a nine-year-old kid was also hospitalised and is healing.
“Let me be clear: this was a mass murder committed against Muslims, against Londoners, and it was motivated by unspeakable hatred,” Holder added.
The defendant, identified as Nathaniel Veltman, was charged with four charges of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
The suspect, identified as Nathaniel Veltman, was charged with four charges of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
Waight said local authorities are also liaising with federal police and the attorney general about adding “possible terrorism charges.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he was “horrified” by the incident. “To the loved ones of those traumatised by yesterday’s act of hatred, we are here for you,” he added, referring specifically to the nine-year-old in the hospital..
‘GOING FOR A WALK’
According to police, the five family members were strolling together down a sidewalk at 8:40 p.m. on Sunday when a black pick-up vehicle “mounted the curb and hit” them as they waited to cross the crossing.
Waight provided few specifics about the inquiry, but stated that police studied the suspect’s social media activities.
The incident, which evoked horrific memories of a mosque mass shooting in Quebec City in January 2017 and a driving rampage in Toronto that murdered ten people in April 2018, garnered instant condemnation.
In a statement, the National Council of Canadian Muslims said it was “beyond shocked and wants justice” for the family, who were merely “out on a walk” on a bright spring evening.
“This is a terrorist act on Canadian territory, and it must be punished as such,” he said “Mustafa Farooq, the organization’s president, told Radio Canada.
The Muslim Association of Canada also urged authorities to “prosecute this heinous crime as an act of hatred and terrorism.””
“Hate and Islamophobia have no place in Ontario,” says the Premier “Premier Doug Ford of Ontario tweeted about it. “These horrific acts of violence must come to an end.”
Four years ago, a 27-year-old white supremacist stormed into a Quebec City mosque and opened fire on attendees conversing after evening prayers, killing six men and badly injuring five others.
Prior to the shootings at two mosques in New Zealand in March 2019, it was the deadliest assault against Muslims in the Western world.
Alexandre Bissonette, the gunman, was sentenced to 40 years in jail, but that was reduced on appeal, and the Supreme Court is now considering his penalty.
Meanwhile, a 28-year-old man was found guilty in March of murdering 10 people and attempting to kill 16 more after ploughing a rental van into pedestrians at high speed three years ago in Toronto.
Four years ago, a 27-year-old white supremacist stormed a Quebec City mosque and opened fire on worshipers.
Prior to the incident, Alek Minassian posted on Facebook about an online network of “involuntary celibates” whose sexual disappointments drove them to embrace sexist philosophy. He is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2022.