A 22-year-old man in Canada was found guilty on Thursday of killing four members of a Muslim family by running them over with his truck in 2021. Nathaniel Veltman was convicted of first-degree murder for the attack in London, Ontario. The jury took about six hours to reach a verdict.
Veltman drove his truck onto a sidewalk where the Afzaal family was walking in June 2021. He intentionally targeted them because they were Muslim, wearing body armor and a shirt with a crusader emblem. Salman Afzaal, his wife, their daughter, and Afzaal’s mother were killed. Their nine-year-old son survived but was seriously injured.
The prosecutors described the attack as an act of “terrorism.” Veltman, convicted on four counts of first-degree murder and one of attempted murder, could face life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
During the trial, evidence showed that Veltman had written a far-right document expressing hatred for Islam, opposing mass immigration, and multiculturalism. He surrendered to the police after the attack, stating he wanted to send a message against Muslim immigration. In his document, he identified as a “white nationalist” and claimed white people were “facing genocide.” Prosecutors revealed that he repeatedly watched a video of a mass shooting by a white supremacist in New Zealand.
The defense argued that Veltman had mental health issues and requested his charges be downgraded to manslaughter. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for December 1.
London Mayor Josh Morgan acknowledged the verdict as an important step towards closure for the Muslim community but emphasized that the journey is not over. The National Council of Canadian Muslims expressed relief that justice was served and called for reflection on the violent Islamophobia in the country.