LONDON, Ontario – Prosecutors on Monday filed terrorism charges against a man accused of driving a car and killing four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont.
The prosecution said the four counts of first degree murder against Nathaniel Veltman constitute an act of terrorism and that prosecutors have escalated those charges under the Criminal Code of Canada. Police allege the incident was a planned and premeditated attack targeting Muslims.
Veltman also faces one count of attempted murder due to terrorist activities.
The upgraded charges were laid as Veltman made a brief video court appearance on Monday morning. He has not yet filed a plea.
Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife of 44 years Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna and her 74-year-old grandmother Talat Afzaal were killed during a night walk on June 6.
The couple’s nine-year-old son Fayez was seriously injured but is expected to recover.
Saboor Khan, a family friend, said the increased charges against Veltman were “the right thing to do.”
“The family and the community have been terrorized and many of us are afraid to leave our homes,” Khan said.
A funeral for the family drew hundreds of mourners to the Islamic Center in southwestern Ontario over the weekend.
Veltman’s next court date is scheduled for June 21.