‘Motivated by hate’: Canadian driver runs over Muslim family

Left to right: Yumna Afzaal, Madiha Salman, Talat Afzaal and Salman Afzaal were killed when a man ploughed his pickup truck into them. Photograph: The Guardian

Four members of a family in Ontario, Canada were killed in a hit and run. Ontario Police says the driver intentionally struck the family because of their Muslim faith.

The victims were all members of the same family, were hit on Sunday (06) evening while waiting to cross a street in the city of London, 200km (124 miles) southwest of Toronto, Canadian news outlets reported on Monday (07).

The victims were identified as two women aged 77 and 44, a 46-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl. A nine-year-old boy was seriously injured and is recovering in hospital.

“This was an act of mass murder perpetuated against Muslims,” London Mayor Ed Holder said. “It was rooted in unspeakable hatred.”

The suspect has been identified as Nathaniel Veltman, he was charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

The 20-year-old was arrested in a mall parking lot without incident while wearing a body-armor-type vest, police said.

Mourners attend vigil to honor four members of the Afzaal family who were killed in a truck attack Sunday night in London, Ontario.

On Tuesday night, crowds of mourners – including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of all of Canada’s political parties – attended the vigil to honor the victims and protest against hate.

Many women wore traditional dress in honor of the Afzaal women; others wore purple headscarves – Yumna’s favorite color.

The vigil started with the Muslim call to prayer, which – for the first time in Canadian history – was aired on national television. A moment of silence was held at 8:40 pm, the exact time the Afzaal family was killed during their evening walk.