4 of a Muslim family killed in ‘premeditated’ truck attack
Published: 10:57 AM, 8 June 2021
Four members of a Muslim family were killed in a "premeditated" vehicle attack in the Canadian city of London, Ontario province on Sunday, police said.
A boy aged nine, the family's only survivor, is in hospital with serious injuries.
A 20-year-old Canadian man has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
The attack was the worst against Canadian Muslims since six people were killed in a Quebec City mosque in 2017.
"It is believed that these victims were targeted because they were Muslim," Det Supt Paul Waight told a news conference on Monday.
Police are weighing possible terrorism charges, he said, adding that it is believed to be a hate crime.
The victims were two women - aged 74 and 44, a 46-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl. They have not been named, in accordance with the wishes of the family. A nine-year-old boy was in hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, said police.
Police named the alleged attacker as Nathanial Veltman, 20, of London, Ontario. He was arrested without incident at a shopping centre about 6km (4.8 miles) from the crime scene. It is not yet known if the suspect has ties to any hate groups, said Det Supt Waight.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he was "horrified" by the news. "To the loved ones of those who were terrorised by yesterday's act of hatred, we are here for you," he wrote.
It is not the first time members of the Muslim community in Canada have come under attack. In January 2017, a Canadian man fatally shot six worshippers at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre, and seriously injured five others. The perpetrator was sentenced to life in prison.
Canada's deadliest vehicle-ramming attack happened in 2018, when a self-described "incel" (involuntary celibate) ploughed his van into a group of pedestrians in Toronto, killing 10 people.