Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown (left) speaks in front of a group of onlookers Monday evening (June 14), during an interfaith vigil, held
in front of Brampton City Hall, to remember members of the Afzaal family, who were targeted by a driver in a “horrific act of Islamophobia” on June 6. (Photo Courtesy of City of Brampton / Urz Heer)
Hundreds of residents came together — in-person and virtually — Monday evening as part of an interfaith vigil to remember a London, Ontario family torn apart by a senseless crime.
Members of the community joined together with guest speakers, including Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, Peel Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah and other representatives in front of Brampton City Hall to acknowledge the Afzaal family, who were targeted by a 20-year-old driver in a pick-up truck on June 6, in what has been described as a “horrific act of Islamophobia.”
The attack claimed the lives of four family members and fatally wounded a child, while the perpetrator has been charged with four-counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder — and additional terror-related charges may be imminent, according to authorities on Monday.
“Islamophobia and hate have no place in our neighbourhoods,” said Duraiappah Monday evening. “I want you to know that we are committed to eliminating hate from our communities, and will continue our work to keep Peel Region a safe place for everyone.” The suspect, 20 year-old Nathaniel Veltman, is the third individual to be charged this year with terror-related crimes, though the exact charges were not known as of press time.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the six-year old survivor of the attack, who is currently recovering in a London hospital, organized by friends of the Afzaal family. “The London community is heartbroken in the wake of this devastating loss and act of hate,” said Sana Yasir, the organizer of the fundraiser. Residents can donate by visiting https://ca.gofundme.com/f/salmanfamily-accident-relief.