Four members of a Canadian Muslim family killed after a car jumped the curb and ran into them deliberately, in a fatal anti-Muslim attack, Canadian police have said.
A 74-year woman died on the scene, a 46-year-old male, a 44-year-old female and a 15-year-old female died after being taken to the hospital. A nine-year-old boy survived and is in the hospital with serious injuries.
Police in Ontario said the driver intentionally struck the family because they were Muslims.
According to Canadian media outlets, the victims, all members of the same family, were hit while waiting to cross a street in the city on Sunday evening.
“It was pre-planned and premeditated and that’s why first degree murder charges were laid,” police official Paul Waight told reporters on Monday.
“There is evidence that this was … motivated by hate. It is believed that these victims were targeted because they were Muslim,” he adds.
A Canadian man Nathaniel Veltman has been arrested. The 20-year-old suspect has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
“We grieve for the family, three generations of whom are now deceased,” the city Mayor Ed Holder told reporters at a virtual press conference held jointly with police.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said it is beyond horrified and demanded justice after the horrific hate-motivated car attack on a Muslim family who were out for a walk.
“This is a terrorist attack on Canadian soil, and should be treated as such. We call on the government to prosecute the attacker to the fullest extent of the law, including considering terrorist charges,” the NCCM’s CEO, Mustafa Farooq, said in a statement.
The attack was the worst against Canadian Muslims since a January 2017 mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec City that killed six Muslim men and injured several others.