A Canadian accused of purposefully driving into a Muslim family, killing four, will face terrorism charges, prosecutors announced on Monday.
Reuters reports that provincial and federal prosecutors consented to commencing terrorism charges against Nathaniel Veltman, 20, who is accused jumping a curb and driving into the Pakistani family of Syed Afzaal and his wife Madiha Salman, who both died in the incident.
Afzaal’s grandmother and 15-year-old daughter were also killed. Their 9-year-old son Faez Afzaal was hospitalized with severe but not life-threatening injuries.
Faez Afzaal was released from the hospital on Monday. A GoFundMe campaign to raise funds in support of him and his extended family has raised more than $903,000 as of Monday evening.
“It is really important for us to name it as an act of terror … and it is important for us identify the terrible threat that white supremacism poses to Canada and to Canadians,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said following of the charges, according to Reuters.
Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauBennett sworn in as new Israeli prime minister, hails ‘beginning of a new day’ Trudeau says no deal on lifting border restrictions after talks with Biden Biden concludes first G-7 as president declaring ‘America is back at the table’ MORE had previously called Veltman’s actions an “act of terrorism.”
“What happened on Sunday in London, this act of terrorism and Islamophobia is sickening. It is heartbreaking. It’s hard to find words that are enough,” Trudeau said during a public address last week.
#BREAKING CTV News can confirm this photo is Nathaniel Veltman, who is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the attack that struck a Muslim family of five, killing four of them. (Photo from 2016) pic.twitter.com/AxBPsERmhu
— Rahim Ladhani (@RLadhaniCTV) June 8, 2021
Authorities have said that there is evidence to suggest the killings were “a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate,” though they have not yet shared what evidence there is. Veltman was wearing body armor and a helmet at the time of his arrest, Reuters notes.
He is scheduled to appear in court on June 21.