Shomporko Online News Desk: According to the area’s police chief, four members of a London, Ont., family who was struck and murdered by a vehicle in the city’s northwest Sunday evening were believed to have been targeted because they were Muslim.
During a press conference Monday afternoon, Chief Steve Williams said, “We think this was an intentional act and that the victims of this tragic crime were targeted.”
“We feel the victims were singled out because of their beliefs in Islam.”
Williams called Sunday’s attack a “devastating loss” for the community.
“We understand that this event may cause fear and anxiety in the community and in particular the Muslim community and any community targeted by hate. I want to reassure all Londoners that all of us on the call today and many others stand with you and support you,” he said.
It was Sunday evening at around 8:40 p.m. when Det. Supt. Paul Waight said emergency crews were called to the intersection of Hyde Park and South Carriage roads, south of Gainsborough Road. He said it’s alleged the driver of a black pick-up truck drove south on Hyde Park Road, mounted the sidewalk and struck the family members.
The vehicle left “at a high rate of speed,” according to Waight. He claimed the driver stopped the vehicle about five minutes later near Cherryhill Village Mall on Cherryhill Boulevard and Oxford Street West, which is about a six-kilometer drive from the site.
Police eventually apprehended the suspect. At the time of his arrest, the suspect was wearing “a garment that appeared to be like body armour,” according to Weight.
“There is proof that this was a calculated, planned crime driven by hatred. These victims are thought to have been targeted because they were Muslim, according to Waight.
“The suspect and the victims have never been linked before.”