Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined several thousand mourners in a vigil Tuesday (June 8) evening to remember three generations of a Canadian Muslim family killed in what police said was a premeditated hate crime, as a grieving community stood united in the midst of the crisis.
“There are no words that can ease the grief of having three generations murdered in their neighborhood,” Trudeau said. “But know this. You are not alone. All Canadian’s mourn with you and stand with you tonight, and always.”
On Sunday, four members of the family were killed as they were out on an evening walk near their home in London, Ontario, when police say a man rammed them with his pick-up truck, targeting them because of their religion.
The victims were Salman Afzaal, 46; his wife, Madiha Salman, 44; their 15-year-old daughter, Yumna Afzaal; and Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother. Their 9-year-old son, Fayez Afzaal, remained hospitalized on Tuesday with serious but non-life-threatening injuries in stable condition.
Nathaniel Veltman, 20, has been charged with driving a pickup truck onto a curb and hitting the family in London, a city of over 400,000 people located 200km (124.27 miles) southwest of Toronto.
He was arrested on Sunday just a few hundred meters from the London Muslim Mosque, which the Afzaal family attended and where Tuesday’s vigil was held.
Addressing the mourners, Trudeau said his government would take action, after placing flowers on the steps of the mosque, without giving details.
The attack has caused a nationwide outpouring of grief, with similar vigils taking place in Toronto, Vancouver and other cities across Canada.
(Production: Carlos Osorio Deborah Lutterbeck)