Four members of a Muslim family were killed and a child was injured Sunday evening in a “deliberate” attack by a man driving a pickup truck in a city in the southern Canadian province of Ontario, police said Monday.
Canadian police stated that they were deliberately targeted in an anti-Islam hate crime.
Paul Waite, chief of detectives for the City of London, told reporters: “There is evidence that this was a pre-planned, hateful act.” “It is believed that these victims were targeted because they are Muslims,” Witt added.
Police arrested the suspect, 20-year-old Nathaniel Feltman, on Sunday. Citing witnesses, police said his truck veered off the road, crossed the curb, hit family members and then drove at high speed.
Feltman, a resident of London, Ontario, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.
Police said Feltman had no criminal record, and it was not known if he was a member of an extremist group. Police said he was arrested in a shopping mall parking garage while wearing a flak jacket. There is no evidence to suggest that he had partners.
The police have not yet released the names of the victims, but the London Free Press said that among the dead were a man named Syed Afzal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their daughter, Youmna Afzal, 15. Syed Afzal’s mother also died 74, whose name has not yet been confirmed, and their son, Faez Afzal, 9, was taken to hospital after sustaining serious, non-life-threatening injuries.
4 members of a Muslim family killed in Canada
It is the worst attack on Canadian Muslims since a man shot dead six people at a Quebec City mosque in 2017.
Ed Holder, Mayor of London, told reporters: “This is a mass murder committed against Muslims, against Londoners, and it is rooted in deep-seated hatred.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter that he was “deeply shocked” by the incident, adding that “Islamophobia has no place in any of our societies.” That hatred is malicious and despicable and must stop.”
Witt said London police, located about 200 km southwest of Toronto, were coordinating with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the attorney general on possible terrorism charges.
“This is a terrorist attack on Canadian soil, and it should be treated as such,” said Mustafa Farouk, head of the National Council of Muslims of Canada.