Four dead after auto hits pedestrians in London, Ont.

Tanya Simon
June 8, 2021

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says justice must be served "for the horrific act of hatred" that occurred in London, Ont., on Sunday.

At about 8:40 pm on Sunday (0040 GMT Monday), according to police, the five family members were walking together along a sidewalk when a black pick-up truck "mounted the curb and struck" them as they waited to cross the intersection.

The driver killed a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl.

A 20-year-old London man identified by police as Nathaniel Veltman is now in custody in connection with the attack.

Police in London, Ont. have charged a suspect with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder after he allegedly hit five pedestrians due to their Islamic faith, killing four members of the same family. "The magnitude of such hatred can make one question who we were as a city".

One woman at a nearby house said she often walks her two-year-old grandson on Hyde Park Road, leaving her rattled by the crash.

A nine-year-old boy remains in hospital in serious condition.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims said it was beyond horrified, saying Muslims in Canada have become all too familiar with the violence of Islamophobia.

Veltman was scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon.

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Eyewitness Natasha, who wished only to share her first name, says she was on her way home from the beach with her family at the time of crash. "This hate is insidious and despicable - and it must stop".

"Words fail on a day as dark as this", said the city's Mayor, Ed Holder.

"These were innocent human beings who were killed simply because they were Muslim", said community spokesperson Nawaz Tahir.

He pointed to recent examples of Islamophobia-motivated violence, including a shooting at a Quebec City mosque in 2017 that left six dead and scores injured.

"To the Muslim community in London and to Muslims across the country, know that we stand with you". "Not tomorrow. Today. For the sake of our children, our families, our communities".

"There was people everywhere and running, just citizens trying to direct the emergency vehicles where to go", she said.

Friends told AP the family had immigrated from Pakistan 14 years ago and were generous members of the London Muslim Mosque.

"He loved to walk with his family".

CEO Mustafa Farooq calls the incident a terrorist attack on Canadian soil and says law enforcement should consider terrorism charges.

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