June 12th, 2021 – Last week, a Canadian man in London, Ontario was arrested for allegedly jumping a curb last Sunday striking a Canadian-Pakistani family with his truck. The victim’s ages ranging from 9 to 74 years old were killed with one injured. Nathaniel Veltman, 21, of London, Ontario, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
The victims who were killed in the attack was Syed Afzaal, 46, his wife, Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter, Yumnah Afzaal. Syed Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother, whose name was not released, also passed away. Their 9-year-old son, Faez Afzaal, is in the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
“There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act and that the family was targeted because of their Muslim faith,”, as stated by London Police Service Detective Paul Waight during a briefing held on Monday. The suspect Veltman worked part-time as a shipping employee at Gray Ridge Egg Farms, an egg-packing facility in Strathroy. In a statement released by Gray Ridge Egg Farms CEO William Gray is as follows:
As Canada’s national media has reported, several members of a Muslim family were killed in a targeted and hateful attack in London on Sunday.
The Management and Staff at Gray Ridge Eggs were shocked and saddened to learn late Monday afternoon that Nathaniel Veltman, a part-time employee at our Strathroy plant, has been arrested and charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
We join our community in expressing condemnation of this violent attack and offer our heartfelt sympathy to the family and the Muslim community.– William H. Gray (June 8th, 2021 Statement)
Tina Perry, an employee who worked with Veltman told CTV News that her former co-worker was the typical “nice guy” who kept to himself and was always available to help when someone needed it. “He was always a nice guy. I’ve never heard anything bad about him.”, she stated to reporters. “I’m very shaken up about this.”.
The attack sparked protests across Canada, and with politicians from all across the political spectrum, which led to growing calls to take action to combat Islamophobia.
“Their lives were taken in a brutal, cowardly, and brazen act of violence. This killing was no accident. This was a terrorist attack motivated by hatred in the heart of one of our communities.”, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said to reporters last Tuesday.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and a few other Canadian politicians have ruled the incident as a “terrorist attack” and will vow to prosecute the suspect to the fullest extent of the law.
Even though the crime was ruled a terror attack, Veltman has not been charged yet with any hate crimes in this case.
“The terrorism charge is certainly on the radar,”, London Police Chief Stephen Williams stated to CTV News. Williams said on Monday from evidence that was gathered “from a variety of sources” indicated the crime was committed because of their Muslim background, but added that any connections to hate groups has not been established.
“The information right now suggests that this individual acted alone. However, we need to look into his background, his recent activity.”, Williams added.
I personally hope this becomes a case where they make an example of out of, so would-be culprits who are thinking of committing future hate crimes towards anyone regardless of race, religion, or nationality. The reaction and outpouring of compassion towards the victims instead of further hatred and bigotry is unprecedented.
Sadly, this is not seen in parts of the United States and Europe, where the some of them had some not so kosher reactions such as blaming the family for being “terrorists” who got what was coming and/or painting the suspect as the victim.