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A man ran into a Muslim family on Sunday night behind the wheel of his pickup in London, Canada, killing four. The suspect has been arrested. This premeditated attack was called a “horrible act of Islamophobia” by Ottawa.
Four members of a Muslim family were killed in a “premeditated” attack on the evening of Sunday 6 June in the city of London, Canada. The shocking tragedy is the deadliest anti-Muslim attack in the country since the shooting of the Quebec mosque in 2017.
At around 8:40 p.m. on Sunday (around 2:40 a.m. Monday in Paris), the five family members were waiting to cross a crossroads when a black pickup “got on the sidewalk and hit them,” police said.
The names of the victims were not disclosed, but they are a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl, representing three generations of one family, said London Mayor Ed Holder.
A 9-year-old boy from the same family was also hospitalized in serious condition following the attack.
They are believed to be from Pakistan, according to local media.
The suspect, Nathaniel Veltman, 20, fled after the incident but was quickly arrested 4 miles from the scene and was charged Monday with four premeditated murders and attempted murder. Police are not ruling out adding “possible terrorism charges” against him.
“A horrible act of Islamophobia”
“There is evidence that this was a premeditated and planned act, motivated by hate. We believe the victims were targeted because they were Muslims,” said Paul Waight, police investigator. of the City of London.
“There is no known prior link between the suspect and the victims,” he added. The man has no criminal record and no known affiliation with any specific group, police said. He was wearing a vest resembling a bulletproof vest when he was arrested.
“This is an event that must be described as a horrific act of Islamophobia,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in the evening. “This mass killing, and other similar attacks, has the effect of terrorizing a targeted community and making people fear that their family might be next. No one should ever have to live this way.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “horrified”. “To the loved ones of those terrorized by yesterday’s act of hatred (Sunday), we are here for you. Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hatred is insidious and despicable – and it must stop “, tweeted the head of government.
Attack in London: Justin Trudeau says he is “horrified”
To the Muslim community of London and to Muslims across the country, please know that we are with you. Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hatred is insidious and contemptible – and it must stop.
– Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 7, 2021
For its part, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (CNMC) says it is “more than horrified and demands justice after the horrific hate-motivated car attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont., Who were out for a walk on Sunday evening. “. “This is a terrorist attack on Canadian soil and (it) must be treated as such,” said its president, Mustafa Farooq.
The Muslim Association of Canada also called on the authorities to view “this horrific attack as an act of hatred and terrorism.”
A drama that echoes a painful memory
Many bouquets of flowers were deposited all Monday evening at the scene of the tragedy. A vigil in memory of the victims is scheduled for early Tuesday evening in a mosque in the city.
“Let’s be clear, this is a mass murder perpetrated against Muslims, against Londoners, rooted in unspeakable hatred,” Holder said.
The attack brought back painful memories of a mass shooting in a Quebec mosque in January 2017, considered one of the worst attacks of its kind in a Western country, before that of Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019 .
A Canadian supremacist, Alexandre Bissonnette, opened fire on the faithful gathered at the Quebec mosque, killing six people and seriously injuring five others. The gunman was sentenced to life in prison, but the safety period prohibiting his parole has since been reduced to 25 years, instead of 40 initially.