Four members of a Pakistani-origin Muslim family were killed in a ‘premeditated’ truck attack in Canada on Sunday, said Canadian police.
The attack took place in the city of London, which is located in the Ontario province. The only survivor of the attack was a nine-year-old boy, who is in the hospital with serious injuries.
A 20-year-old suspected identified as Nathaniel Veltman was arrested, the police said in a statement. He was charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. The suspected was arrested at a shopping centre about 6km from the crime scene.
The victims of the attack were two women – aged 77 and 44, a 46-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl while a nine-year-old boy was seriously injured and he is recovering in the hospital.
The extended family issued a statement identifying the victims as Salman Afzal, 46; his wife Madiha, 44; their daughter Yumna, 15; and a 74-year-old grandmother whose name was withheld. The hospitalized boy was identified as Fayez.
“There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate,” Det Supt Paul Waight told a news conference on Monday. “It is believed that these victims were targeted because they were Muslim,” However, it is not yet known whether the suspect has any ties to hate groups.
This truck attack is reportedly the worst against Muslims in Canada since six people were killed in a Quebec City Mosque in 2017.
“I’m horrified by the news from London, Ontario. 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.” tweeted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
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.
“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.