Four members of Pakistani-origin Muslim family were killed in a targeted attack in Canadian province of Ontario, it emerged on Monday.
What was described by the local police as Islamophobic incident, a hate crime against Muslims, four family members: a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl, were killed as a 20-year-old truck driver smashed into five pedestrians before fleeing the scene in London, Ontario. Meanwhile, a nine-year-old boy of the family was seriously injured.
“There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate. It is believed that these victims were targeted because they were Muslim,” a police official told media.
Although, the names of the victims were not officially released but according to a family friend, Zahid Khan, three generations were among the deceased: a grandmother, father, mother and their teenage daughter while their son was hospitalised with serious injuries.
Khan told the media that the family had immigrated from Pakistan 14 years ago and were dedicated, decent and generous members of the London Muslim Mosque.
According to the information shared by the police, the family had gone out for a walk on Sunday evening. At around 8:40pm. a man driving a pickup truck hit the family and drove off at high speed.
Identified as Nathaniel Veltman, the suspect, aged 20, was later arrested at a mall seven kilometres from the crime scene.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed grief over the incident. “Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable – and it must stop,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter.
London Mayor Ed Holder in a statement said: “Let me be clear, this was an act of mass murder perpetrated against Muslims, against Londoners, rooted in unspeakable hatred.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan also shared his thoughts on the incident. “This condemnable act of terrorism reveals the growing Islamophobia in Western countries,” the premier tweeted.
Canadians are mourning the killing of four family members in anti-Muslim attack as the citizens of London were seen rushing towards the site where the incident happened with flowers and candles.
Photo credits: Reuters