A vehicle attack against a Muslim family in southwestern Ontario that left four dead and one seriously injured was an act of terrorism, prosecutors argued Monday as they upgraded the charges against the man accused in the incident.
20 year old Nathaniel Veltman had been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the June 6 incident in London, Ont., which police have called an act motivated by hate against the Islamic faith.
Federal Crown Sarah Shaikh said Monday prosecutors were going ahead with terrorism proceedings after receiving consent from the country's attorney general.
"Mr. Veltman, you are now charged with four counts of first-degree murder," Shaikh said in virtual court. "In addition to the allegation that these murders were planned and deliberate, the further allegation is that they also constitute terrorism offences."
Veltman, who has yet to retain a lawyer, said he understood the charges.
"In addition to the allegation that these murders were planned and deliberate, the further allegation is that they also constitute terrorism offences."
Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal were killed when while out for an evening walk. A black pickup truck veered onto the sidewalk into the family and fled the scene, police said.
The couple's 9 year-old son, Fayez, was seriously injured but is expected to recover.