Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what police called a hate crime are set to be buried in London, Ont., today. 

The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman. 

All died last Sunday night while out for a walk after a man in a truck drove them down in what police have called a premeditated attack because they were Muslim.

The couple’s nine-year-old son, Fayez, was seriously injured and remains in hospital.

The funeral procession is set to begin at 1 p.m. at O’Neil Funeral Home and wend its way to the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario.

The funeral is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and there will be space in the centre’s parking lot and nearby soccer fields for the public.

The family will be buried at the Islamic Cemetery of London in a private ceremony afterward.

The family and Muslim community has received an outpouring of support in the last week.

The attack has prompted a discussion over racism in Canada. Calls for a national summit on what to do about Islamophobia continue to grow across the country. 

Around 8:40 p.m. on Sunday, police allege a 20-year-old London man veered his black pickup truck onto the sidewalk at an intersection in the city’s northwest corner and into the family of five.

Witnesses said the truck was moving at high speed. Police arrested the suspect about five minutes later in a strip mall parking lot seven kilometres away.

The suspect purportedly told a taxi driver in the parking lot to call police because he had killed someone, Yellow London Taxi said.

The cab driver called police and flagged down a passing cruiser for help. Police and witnesses have said the suspect wore something akin to body armour and a military-style helmet. 

Nathaniel Veltman faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He is next set to appear in court on Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2021. 

The Canadian Press

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