Hit-and-run that killed 4 believed to be planned Islamophobic attack, Canadian police say #englishheadline
Police are investigating a hit-and-run that killed four people in London, Ontario, as a hate crime, saying the victims were targeted because they were Muslim.
Nathanial Veltman, 20, is in custody after a family was hit by a car on Hyde Park Road at about 8:40 p.m. local time on Sunday, the London Police Service said. The group was waiting to cross the road when a man in a black pickup truck jumped the curb and hit five people from the same family.
The truck then sped off from the scene, running a red lit, Detective Superintendent Paul Waight said on Monday. Veltman was found about four miles from the intersection and arrested without incident by officers.
“There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act motivated by hate,” Waight said. “It is believed these victims were targeted because they were Muslim. There is no known previous connection between the suspect and the victims.”
Waight said he believes this is potentially the most people killed at one time in the city’s history.
He did not detail the evidence found by investigators that led them to believe this was a potential hate crime. Veltman is not known to be involved in any known hate groups at this point or a criminal record, Waight said.
A woman was pronounced dead at the scene while two adults and two children were taken to a hospital. A teenager and both adults, a man and woman, later died at the hospital. The victims range in age from age 15 to 74, but they have not yet been identified by authorities due to the family’s request.
A 9-year-old boy is still in the hospital recovering.
Veltman was charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder, Waight said. He appeared in court through video conferencing Monday afternoon, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Potential terrorism charges are being considered against Veltman, Weight said. It’s unclear if he has retained an attorney.
London Mayor Ed Holder characterized the attack as an act of mass murder which was “rooted in unspeakable hatred.”
“We can say this isn’t who we are, and I know that to be true,” Holder said. “Words though, are not enough … This act of unspeakable hatred, this act of Islamophobia, must be followed by acts of compassion, acts of kindness, acts of empathy, acts of solidarity, justice, and above all, love.”