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Boy, 9, left sole survivor of Muslim family killed in 'Islamophobic attack'
7 June 2021, 23:38
A nine-year-old boy has been left seriously injured and the only survivor after a driver drove a pick-up truck into a family of five because they were Muslim, Canadian police said.
Police said a black pick-up truck mounted a curb and struck the victims at an intersection on Sunday in London, Ontario.
Nathaniel Veltman, 20, has been arrested on suspicion of four counts of first-degree murder. Police said he did not know the victims.
"This was an act of mass murder perpetuated against Muslims," London Mayor Ed Holder said.
"It was rooted in unspeakable hatred. The magnitude of such hatred can make one question who we were as a city."
Police said the dead were a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl.
The boy was reported to be in a serious condition.
The family requested the names not be released, officials said.
Detective Supt Paul Waight said Veltman was wearing a vest that appeared to be like body armour.
Mr Waight said police did not know at this point if the suspect was a member of any specific hate group. He said London police were working with federal police and prosecutors to see about potential terrorism charges.
He declined to detail evidence pointing to a possible hate crime, but said the attack was planned.
"We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith," London Police Chief Stephen Williams said.
"We understand that this event may cause fear and anxiety in the community, particularly in the Muslim community, in any community targeted by hate... There is no tolerance in this community who are motivated by hate target others with violence."