Four family members were killed on Sunday, June 6, after a 20-year-old man hit them with his van because of their Muslim faith.
The family, which immigrated from Pakistan 14 years ago, was attacked in Ontario, a city of 500,000 people with a Muslim population of around 30,000
Police say the driver, Nathaniel Veltman, picked his victims at random and targeted them because of their faith. He ran into the family in his black van as they were out for a night out.
Four people lost their lives: Salman Afzaal, 46, a physiotherapist, his wife, Madiha Salman, 44, doctoral student in civil engineering at Western University, Yumna Salman, 15, who was completing her ninth year at Oakridge High School, and the children’s 74-year-old grandmother, who was a pillar of the family.
The son, Fayez Salman, 9, is the only survivor in the family. He is currently in the hospital and is supported by his extended family.
The suspect was arrested immediately and now faces four counts of first degree murder.
Brampton, Ontario city councilor Gurpreet Singh Dhillon tweeted: “My prayers are with the city of Ontario in the wake of the heinous hate crime against an innocent Muslim family. I am wholeheartedly with our Muslim brothers and sisters in Canada who mourn this loss. # Islamophobia and hatred have no place here. ”
Narhaniel Veltman first appeared in court on Monday, June 7.