The man accused of stealing a Muslim family with his truck in what Canadian police call the hate-motivated attack appeared briefly from Zoom before a judge Thursday and will return early next week.
Nathaniel Veltman, 20, was arrested Sunday in a parking lot of London’s shopping center, Ontario, a short distance from the city’s oldest mosque. He was wearing what appeared to be an armored vest and a helmet at the time, police said.
Veltman, who will appear next in court Monday, faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
Police said Veltman was not known to have links with any hate group, but added that they were still investigating and accusation of terror were considered.
London Police Chief Steve Williams told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp that little information has been made public to ensure the integrity of the judicial process.
“We need to be protective of information to ensure that the court process is not contaminated by anything we do or say now,” Williams said.
Four members of a family, three generations old, were killed when the truck ran off while they were out for an evening walk near their home.
Relatives have identified the dead as 46-year-old Salman Afzaal, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, his 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman and his 74-year-old grandmother Talat Afzaal. The couple’s son, nine-year-old Fayez, was seriously injured but is expected to recover.
“The front of the pick-up was severely damaged” and was stained with blood, said Hasan Savehilaghi, president of a taxi company, citing details provided by one of his drivers who was at the scene of the crash. arrest.
Savehilaghi said the suspect had been dragged from his truck by police, he sang, but his words were not clear. Veltman yelled at the taxi driver to film the arrest.
“He enjoyed the scene, as it was important for him to be recorded,” Savehilaghi said.
Tuesday, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau he called the assassins a “terrorist attack” and vowed to defeat far-right groups and online hatred.
“It was with great shock and horror that I came to hear about the indescribable crime committed last week,” Mark Veltman, the father of the accused attacker, said in an email Thursday.
“There are no appropriate words to correctly express my deep sorrow for the victims of this senseless act,” he added.
Few details about Veltman’s life have come to light.
Veltman worked part-time at an egg-laying factory in Strathroy, Ontario, near London. Neighbors of his apartment in central London said he could often hear himself playing video games at high volume late at night, he told the London Free Press. London is about halfway between Toronto and Detroit.
Sunday’s incident was the worst attack on Canadian Muslims since a man shot six members of a Quebec mosque in 2017.
Meanwhile, the world’s largest body of Muslim-majority nations, with 57 members, has strongly condemned what it described as “the smell of terrorist terror perpetrated by an extremist” against a Muslim family in Canada.
The Organization for Islamic Cooperation has called on the authorities to take the necessary preventive measures to combat anti-Muslim hatred, which it says is spreading in many countries where Muslims constitute a minority. In its statement released Thursday, the OIC renewed its appeal to the UN and other world bodies to declare March 15 a day against Islamophobia and Muslim intolerance.