Nathaniel Veltman lived alone, neighbors say he 'played video games very loud'
One neighbor, who identified herself as Chelsea, said that she had had arguments with Nathaniel Veltman over the 'constant noise' from his home
LONDON, ONTARIO: The incident where 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman, a White man, ran over and killed four members of a Canadian Muslim family, is being seen as a hate crime. Police in London, Ontario, said that Veltman, who was arrested after the incident, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
While cops have not released the victims' names officially, the dead have been reported to be Syed Afzaal, 46, his wife, Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter, Yumnah Afzaal. Syed Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother, whose name has not been confirmed, also died. Their nine-year-old son, Faez Afzaal, is in the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
"There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate," Detective Superintendent Paul Waight of the London police department said. "We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith.” Waight also said that there is no known connection between Veltman and the family.
While the suspect does not have a criminal record and is not known to be a member of any hate group, his neighbors have said that he was an odd person. Speaking to the London Free Press on Monday night, June 7, some neighbors at his apartment building described Veltman as a person who rarely interacted with others.
One neighbor, who only identified herself as Chelsea, said that she had had arguments with him over “constant noise” from his home, where he allegedly lived alone. “I had a lot of fights with him and had to bang on his door and ask him to stop because I have a four-year-old and it was just constant, even, like, at 3 am,” she said.
Another neighbor, on condition of anonymity, said that Veltman, who had lived at the address for about a year, “just looked like a nerdy white kid, I guess, who played video games very loud.”
In the March 2019 mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, Brenton Tarrant, the man who carried out the deadly assault, was found to have expressed racist views. He was also found to be an avid Internet user and online gamer, who had few childhood friends. Aside from that, as an adult, he reportedly rarely made long-lasting relationships with people outside of his immediate family.
Alexandre Bissonnette, who opened gunfire at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, a mosque in the Sainte-Foy neighborhood of Quebec City in January 2017, was unknown to police and had not been on any watch lists prior to the attack. He too was described by friends as a “xenophobe”, and as someone who was “enthralled by a borderline racist nationalist movement.” He was also described by acquaintances as a “gamer type.”
The similarities between the profiles of the three men are significant. Veltman was arrested in a mall parking lot without incident while wearing a body-armor-type vest, police said. There is no evidence he had any accomplices. Besides Veltman, the other famous Canadian 'van killer' is "incel" Alek Minassian, who drove a white rental van into multiple pedestrians, killing 10 people and injuring another 16 in 2018.
London Mayor Ed Holder said it was the worst mass murder his city had ever seen. "We grieve for the family, three generations of whom are now deceased," Holder told reporters. "This was an act of mass murder, perpetrated against Muslims, against Londoners, and rooted in unspeakable hatred." Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he was "horrified" by the news, adding that "Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable -- and it must stop."