What we know about Nathaniel Veltman, the alleged perpetrator of the London, Ontario, attack
Nathaniel Veltman, 20, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with an alleged vehicle attack in London, Ontario. Veltman worked at an egg packing facility and has no known ties to hate groups.
Veltman is charged with the murder of four members of a Muslim family — Salman Afzaal, his wife Madiha Salman, their daughter Yumna, and Salman Afzaal’s mother — and the injury of the couple’s nine-year-old son Fayez.
He faces four first-degree murder charges and one count of attempted murder.
“There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act and that the family was targeted because of their Muslim faith,” Det.-Insp. Paul Waight of the London Police Service said during Monday’s briefing.
Veltman was apprehended approximately seven kilometers from the crash site near London’s Cherryhill Village Mall. According to police, he was wearing body armor during his arrest.
Veltman worked part-time as a shipping clerk at Gray Ridge Egg Farms in nearby Strathroy, Ont.
Gray Ridge Eggs Inc. CEO William H. Gray stated on the company’s website that management and staff at the facility were “shocked and saddened” to learn one of their employees had been charged with the murders.
“We join our community in condemning this senseless act of violence and extend our heartfelt condolences to the victim’s family and the Muslim community,” Gray continued in the statement.
Tina Perry, a former coworker of Veltman’s for several years, described him as a nice guy who kept to himself but was always willing to lend a hand when someone needed it.
“He was always a pleasant person,” she stated. “I’ve never heard anyone speak ill of him.”
“I’m extremely disturbed by this.”
According to Perry, the company convened an emergency meeting on Tuesday to offer counseling to anyone who was affected by the news.
Another colleague at the facility was also taken aback when he learned what had occurred.
“He was a very nice man,” Arman Moradpourian stated. “He was a good friend who was always willing to help me.”
Veltman in 2016 during the St. Clair River Run, a half-marathon, ten-kilometer, and five-kilometer road race along the St. Clair River in Sombra and Port Lambton, Ontario.
Veltman resided in a Covent Market Place apartment in central London. On Tuesday, police were spotted outside the apartment building.
NO KNOWN LINKS TO HATRED GROUPS
Veltman has not been charged with a hate crime, but police are still investigating.
“Certainly, the terrorism charge is on the table,” London Police Chief Stephen Williams stated.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and a number of other politicians have described the attack as a terrorist act.
“Their lives were taken in an act of heinous, cowardly, and brazen violence,” Trudeau said Tuesday. “This assassination was not an accident. This was a terrorist attack in the heart of one of our communities motivated by hatred.”
Williams stated on Monday that evidence “from a variety of sources” indicated the attack was carried out in retaliation for the family’s Muslim faith, but added on Tuesday that no evidence of affiliation with any hate groups has been established.
“At the moment, the information indicates that this individual acted alone,” Williams said. “However, we must investigate his background and recent activities.”