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Family of pedestrians killed in intentional anti-Muslim attack: London police

A driver intentionally struck five members of a family while they were walking in northwest London, killing four of them, because of their Islamic faith, the city’s police chief says.

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A driver intentionally struck five members of a family while they were walking in northwest London, killing four of them, because of their Islamic faith, the city’s police chief alleges.

Nathaniel Veltman, 20, of London, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the largest mass killing in the city’s history.

“We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith,” London police Chief Steve Williams said during a press conference Monday afternoon.

Emergency crews responded at 8:40 p.m. Sunday to reports of a vehicle striking pedestrians at Hyde Park and South Carriage roads. A black pickup truck travelling south on Hyde Park Road mounted the curb and struck the family as they were waiting to cross the intersection. The vehicle sped away, heading south before running a red light and turning left on Oxford Street, police said.

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A woman, 74, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. A man, 46; a woman, 44; and a girl, 15, were taken to the hospital and later died. A nine-year-old boy remains in hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries, police said.

The names of the deceased weren’t immediately released at the request of the family.

Williams sought to reassure members of London’s Muslim community, estimated at more than 30,000, that they are safe. “There is no tolerance in this community for individuals motivated by hate.”

The area of the crash is a unique spot – filled with big-box stores and strip malls along the four-lane Hyde Park Road. It’s a bustling shopping node, but with high-density residential neighbourhoods around it. It’s also filled with undeveloped parcels of land. People out for walks or runs are common along the major north-south Hyde Park Road.

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The intersection where the crash happened – Hyde Park and South Carriage – is a good example. The intersection includes a popular hardware store with condo towers behind it; townhouses across the road; and some empty plots nearby.

Veltman, who appeared in court Monday afternoon, was arrested Sunday evening in the parking lot at Cherryhill mall, roughly seven kilometres from the scene of the crash.

Veltman was wearing a body-armour-style vest at the time of his arrest, Det. Supt. Paul Waight said.

Veltman doesn’t have any past criminal convictions, though he has had past interactions with other police forces, but nothing of a serious nature, Waight said.

Veltman’s made his first court appearance Monday over a phone line from London police headquarters.

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He was asked his name and date of birth. “Nate Veltman, December 20, 2000,” he said.

Justice of the Peace Terry Steenson placed a publication ban on any evidence at the hearing.

The charges were read to him: one count of attempted murder of a youth “by striking him with a motor vehicle, namely a Dodge Ram pickup truck,” and four first-degree murder charges. Three females were unidentified, while a fourth charge was in connection with the death of Syed Afzaal.

Steenson said bail on murder charges can only be sought in the Superior Court of Justice. He ordered Veltman into custody and to return to court on Thursday.

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Written by Techbondhu

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