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Who is Nathaniel Veltman? Truck driver, 20, mows down Muslim family of 4 in 'hate crime'

'We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith,' the police super of London, Ontario said about the attack
The family targeted by Nathaniel Veltman (Twitter/Anna Ahronheim)
The family targeted by Nathaniel Veltman (Twitter/Anna Ahronheim)

A pickup truck driver, 20, from the city of London in Ontario, Canada has been arrested on charges of first-degree murder of four members of a Muslim family. The brutal killing claimed the lives of a teenage girl, her parents, and her grandmother. One nine-year-old boy was critically injured as well.

Veltman had allegedly plowed his pickup truck onto the family of five when they were out on a walk on the night of June 6, 2021. While a 74-year-old woman died on the spot, the other members were pronounced dead later at the hospital, which included a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman, and a 15-year-old girl. The attack is another major Islamophobic crime to happen in Canada since the horrific shooting of six people outside a mosque in Quebec in 2017. The attack at the time was carried out by 29-year-old Alexandre Bissonnette, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment.  


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Though the names of the victims were not released officially, London Free Press identified the slain family members as Syed Afzaal, 46, his wife, Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter, Yumnah Afzaal, along with Syed's 74-year-old mother. According to Associated Press, the family had immigrated from Pakistan to Canada around 14 years ago. The horrific incident is being considered one of the worst instances of Islamophobia in the North American country. 

In the aftermath of the incident, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau tweeted, "I’m horrified by the news from London, Ontario. To the loved ones of those who were terrorized by yesterday’s act of hatred, we are here for you. We are also here for the child who remains in hospital - our hearts go out to you, and you will be in our thoughts as you recover."


Who is Nathaniel Veltman?

Nathaniel Veltman has been recognized as a resident of London, Ontario, who was motivated by hate and discrimination, according to the police. The 20-year-old spotted the family on Sunday night while they were taking a casual stroll. He jumped the curb on his pickup truck and rammed the vehicle onto the family, before driving off at high speed, reported Reuters. He was seen wearing a body-armor-type vest when he was nabbed from the parking lot. 

Presently, Veltman is facing charges of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He has been remanded to custody and would be attending the court on June 10, 2021. It has been confirmed that he did not know the family personally prior to the attack.

Veltman does not hold any prior criminal record to his name and is not officially registered with any known hate group - preliminary investigation has revealed. 

London Police Detective Superintendent Paul Waight stated, "There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate. We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith." Meanwhile, mayor Ed Holder added, "It was rooted in unspeakable hatred. The magnitude of such hatred can make one question who we were as a city."

Paige Martin, an eyewitness to the incident, shared that she saw Veltman's black truck rushing past her and skip a red light, before hitting the victims. "It was just absolutely like something that you never want to see," Martin remarked. 

The crash scene has now been turned into a memorial for the murder victims, remembered by local residents. Zahid Khan, a friend of the family, emotionally recalled, "They were just out for their walk that they would go out for every day."

Meanwhile, Nathaniel Veltman's mugshot or other details are yet to be released by the police. But social media users are already branding Nathaniel Haltman as a 'domestic terrorist', demanding more information about him. 

"Where is the mugshot for the London, Ontario terrorist, Nathaniel Veltman? He's not a "20-year-old driver" as some media outlets have called him. He is a racist, far-right domestic terrorist. Media should not be covering his hatred with innocuous adjectives," tweeted writer Sam Kemp-Jackson.

Anna Ahronheim from Jerusalem Post wrote, "20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman has been charged with murder after he targeted the Afzaal family with his pickup truck. He killed an entire family, leaving a 9yr old boy an orphan. This is a terror attack."

"My mother is terrified to leave the house alone. I am terrified to let my mother leave the house alone. She has lived in Canada for more than 25 yrs and to this day cannot go out by herself. #hate #racism #Islamophobia," a Twitter user shared about her mother following the incident. 

Influencer Rob Gill demanded, "If you know domestic terrorist Nathaniel (Nate) Veltman, send me a DM. Looking for workplace, pictures, family history or anything you think the public should know. #londonOnt #Islamophobia"