LONDON, Canada: Nathaniel V, the 20-year-old man who killed a Muslim family with a truck earlier this month, is facing terrorism charges in a court.
The attack on a family of Pakistani background in the city of London, Ontario, killed a 46-year-old man, his 44-year-old wife, their 15-year-old daughter and a 74-year-old grandmother while they were on an evening walk on June 6. The couple’s nine-year-old son survived the attack, although he was seriously injured.
“The federal and provincial attorneys general provided their consent to commence terrorism proceedings, alleging that the murders and the attempted murder also constitute terrorist activity,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said about the charges.
Authorities say the alleged perpetrator, Nathaniel V, carried out the murders on purpose and was targeting Muslims.
Nathaniel V faces four counts of first-degree murder in addition to the terrorism charges. The perpetrator also faces one count of attempted murder.
The suspect has no criminal background or known ties to extremist groups. He told the court on Monday that he does not yet have an attorney. Top Canadian leaders have condemned the attack.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons recently that the murders were a “terrorist attack, motivated by hatred, in the heart of one of our communities.”
“It is really important for us to name it as an act of terror… and it is important for us to identify the terrible threat that White supremacism poses to Canada and Canadians,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said in response to the new terrorism charges.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) advocacy group called the new charges an “important development in the case.”
“We will never be intimidated by acts of terror and Islamophobia,” the NCCM added.
Canada has experienced anti-Muslim violence in the past. A 27-year-old man opened fire on worshippers in a mosque in Quebec City in 2017, killing six people and leaving five others seriously injured.