Canada terrorist who mowed down Muslim family 'was laughing'

Canada terrorist who mowed down Muslim family 'was laughing' during arrest
2 min read
12 June, 2021
Following the attack, Nathaniel Veltman is said to have pulled up to a shopping centre car park and parked behind a taxi, telling a taxi driver to ring the police because he had killed someone.
20-year-old suspect Nathaniel Veltman allegedly rammed his pick-up truck into a Muslim family on a sidewalk in London, Ontario, killing four and seriously injuring a 9-year-old boy [Anadolu Agency - Getty]

The perpetrator of a deadly hate—motivated attack on a Muslim family in Canada "laughed" as he was being arrested by authorities, according to a witness.

Twenty-year-old Nathaniel Veltman is suspected of ramming his pick-up truck into a family of Pakistani origin on the sidewalk of an intersection in the city of London, Ontario, on Sunday.

A 9-year old boy survived the attack but remains in hospital. His parents, Salman Afzal, 46  and Madiha Afzali, 44 died alongside his 15-year-old sister Yumna and their 74-year -old grandmother, whose name has not been made public.

An unnamed taxi driver relayed his eyewitness account of the moments leading Veltman's arrest to Hassan Savehilagi, the boss of his taxi firm. Savehilagi spoke to the London Free Press on behalf of his traumatised employee, who has not returned to work since Sunday.

Veltman pulled up to a shopping centre car park and parked behind a taxi following the attack.

He was seen wearing a bullet-proof vest, a military style-helmet and clothing which may have swastikas on it, the taxi driver, who was outside his car for a cigarette at the time, told Savehilagi.

Voices

Veltman asked the taxi driver to ring the police because he had killed someone,. The taxi driver inspected the front of his truck and saw blood, assuming the vehicle to have been involved in a hit-and-run.

He then flagged down a police patrol car nearby, who called for reinforcements.

"When they got him [Veltman] out of the vehicle, he was laughing," Savehilagi said, adding that the 20-year-old suspect asked the taxi driver to record his arrest.

The killings have shaken Canada and been condemned by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a "terrorist attack" carried out with "Islamophobic" intentions.

The suspect has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder amid calls by Canadian Muslim figures for courts to treat the incident as a terrorist attack.

Analysts say the attack is one among several deadly manifestations of growing anti-Muslim sentiment and white nationalism in the North American country. A mosque shooting in the city of Quebec left six dead in 2017, while a driving rampage killed 10 a year later.