Four members of a Canadian immigrant family were killed and another hospitalized after 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman purposely hit them in his vehicle as they were driving around.
A taxi driver was taking a coffee break when the suspect pulled into his black truck and told him to call the police because he had just killed someone, Yellow Taxi London chairman Hassan Savehilaghi said. The free press on behalf of the driver.
The driver of the pickup was wearing what appeared to be a bulletproof vest, a military-style helmet and clothing that may have worn swastikas, Mr. Savehilaghi said, according to the traumatized driver.
The driver, who the suspect even asked to videotape his arrest, said the front of the truck had been “damaged with blood” and immediately called the police.
The witness said police units from London, Ontario quickly arrived at the scene and removed the suspect from the truck.
“When they got him out of the vehicle, he was laughing,” added Savehilaghi, who said the driver did not return to work after the incident.
The victims were identified as Salman Afzal, 46; his wife Madiha, 44; their 15-year-old daughter Yumna; and a 74-year-old grandmother whose name has not been made public.
Family friends say they immigrated to Canada 14 years ago from Pakistan.
The suspect was charged with four counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
A friend of the suspect told the newspaper that the 20-year-old had “never said anything hateful” about a group before.
“He is a Christian and has a great relationship with God… He has always been quite calm towards others,” added the anonymous friend.
A colleague told the newspaper that the suspect was recently devastated by the death of a family member.
“He looked broken because of it on Friday. It was the last time I saw him, ”said the unidentified colleague.
Previously, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the incident a “terrorist attack” targeting the Muslim community.
“It was a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred, in the heart of one of our communities,” he told the country’s parliament.
“If someone thinks that racism and hatred don’t exist in this country, I mean this: how do you explain such violence to a child in a hospital? How can we look families in the eye and say “Islamophobia is not real? “”