The man who killed four Muslims with a pickup truck last week in London, Canada, has been charged with terrorism. Police said it was assumed that 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman had deliberately run into the family because they were Muslims. Veltman has also been accused of murder four times and once attempted murder.
“It is very important to us that this is named as a terrorist act,” Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to the charges. “And its important for us to see what a terrible threat white supremacy is for Canada and Canadians.”
Family friends also underline the importance of the charges. “This was the right thing to do,” says family friend Saboor Khan to Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. He says he hears from many people around him that they are afraid to leave their homes since the attack. The authorities said last week that Veltman acted alone as far as we know.
Three generations of the Afzaal family died in the attack. 46-year-old Salman and his wife Madiha (44), their 15-year-old daughter Yumna and Salmans mother, Talat (74) were killed during their evening walk. Nine-year-old Fayez survived the attack, but is still seriously injured in the hospital.
The driver of the truck, Veltman, was arrested shortly after his action in a nearby mall parking lot. Why the police spoke of intent soon after the attack has not been clarified in the charges.
The 20-year-old suspect appeared shortly before court today. He said hes not being assisted by a lawyer at the moment. Further details about the hearing have not yet been disclosed. Veltman will be in court again next Monday.