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Canada Police tracing London attack suspect’s ‘online footprint,’ looking at terrorism charges, chief says

01:20  10 june  2021
01:20  10 june  2021 Source:   globalnews.ca

The latest news developments on the fatal attack in London, Ont.

  The latest news developments on the fatal attack in London, Ont. The latest news on the vehicle attack in London, Ont., that killed four members of a Muslim family and seriously injured a nine-year-old boy on Sunday (all times eastern): --- 9 p.m. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says reports that a vehicle attack that killed four people in London, Ont., was motivated by the fact the victims were Muslim is "horrific and heartbreaking." In a series of social media posts, O'Toole expressed his deepest---

London police say they're considering laying terrorism charges against the man accused of killing members of a Muslim family out for a walk in in London , Ont. on Sunday because of their faith. But getting the evidence needed to prosecute isn't always easy under Canadian law. National Council of Canadian Muslims, PM have called the killings a ' terrorist attack '. Catharine Tunney · CBC News · Posted: Jun 09, 2021 4:00 AM ET | Last Updated: June 9. Police officers look for evidence at the scene of Sunday night' s deadly hit-and-run attack in London , Ontario on Monday, June 7, 2021.

London police say they're considering laying terrorism charges against the man accused of killing members of a Muslim family out for a walk in in London But no terrorism charges were laid against the shooter, who ended up pleading guilty to six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder. The van attack in Toronto in 2018 that claimed ten lives also led to discussions about terrorism charges . Police said the killer told them after his arrest that he’d set out to kill as many people as possible and was inspired by the misogynistic “incel” movement, whose members blame

The investigation into the 20-year-old accused of killing four members of a Muslim family with his pickup truck in London, Ont., is trying to trace the suspect’s “thought patterns” and “online footprint,” London’s police chief said Wednesday.

a man wearing glasses posing for the camera: Chief Steve Williams of the London Police Service. © Provided by Global News Chief Steve Williams of the London Police Service.

In an interview with Global News, Chief Steve Williams of the London Police Service was reluctant to disclose the evidence police had gathered, but said it was quickly apparent Nathaniel Veltman had targeted a Muslim family.

“It was pretty clear from the investigation that occurred immediately at the scene, and like I said, there's a number of witnesses,” Williams said.

Four members of a Muslim family killed in an attack in Canada

 Four members of a Muslim family killed in an attack in Canada © AP, Geoff Robin Attacks were secured by the police in London, Ontario, Monday, June 7, 2021. Sunday night, a Man darkened on a Muslim family driving his pick-up in London, Canada, who's four dead. The suspect has been stopped. This premeditated attack has been described as "horrible act of Islamophobia" by Ottawa. Four members of a Muslim family were killed in a "premeditated" attack on Sunday, June 6th in the city of London, 200 km southwest of Toronto ( Canada ).

London police say they're considering laying terrorism charges against the man accused of killing members of a Muslim family out for a walk in in London Little has been released publicly about the London hit-and-run suspect ’ s motivation. Police haven’t revealed what, if anything, the accused said to officers when he was arrested, or why they believe he had targeted the family over their faith. A woman wearing a face mask is overcome with emotion at the scene where a man driving a pickup truck jumped the curb and ran over a Muslim family in London , Ontario, Canada June 7, 2021.

WATCH ABOVE: Police say a man driving a pickup truck deliberately targeted a Muslim family out for a stroll Sunday, leaving four of them dead and one in hospital. Catherine McDonald reports. The accused in the case, 20-year-old London resident Nathaniel Veltman, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder and a count of attempted murder. He appeared through an audio link in a London court on Monday. He was remanded into custody and scheduled to appear in court again on Thursday.

“Then obviously we, as you know, arrested the accused a short distance away and we recovered the vehicle.

“So without getting into the details of what evidence came from all that, we were fairly comfortable at an early stage attributing this to being a hate-motivated crime, and as I indicated, this family was targeted because of their Islamic faith.”

The investigation is continuing and police are still trying to determine whether terrorism charges are warranted, he said, adding no ties to hate groups had surfaced and “it appears that he undertook this by himself based on what we know today.”

Read more: London attack was latest of Canada’s ‘most deadly’ form of extremism, national security adviser says

A resident of London and a part-time egg processing plant employee, Veltman has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder over the alleged vehicle attack.

Terrorism in Canada: A timeline of plots, attacks, and allegations

  Terrorism in Canada: A timeline of plots, attacks, and allegations Four members of a Muslim family are dead and one child is in hospital after a hit-and-run in London, Ont. Sunday, in what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called an act of terrorism. Police said 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman intentionally drove a truck into the family who was out for a walk on Sunday evening and he targeted them because of their faith. Veltman now faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He did not know the victims.

The police chief in London , Ont. says that while the suspect in Sunday' s vehicle attack has not been charged with any terror -related offences, that could still happen as the investigation unfolds.

The police chief in London , Ont. says that while the suspect in Sunday' s vehicle attack has not been charged with any terror -related offences, that could still happen as the investigation unfolds.

Police said Monday they believed the victims were targeted because they were Muslims. The victims are: Salman Afzaal, 46; Madiha Salman, 44; Yumna Afzaal, 15; and Talat Afzaal, 74. Fayez Afzaal, 9, was the lone survivor.

The police chief said investigators were “trying to piece together what the thought patterns may have been and what led to him undertaking this act on so many,” as well as tracing his movements and what he may have been doing on the internet.

“Certainly we look for the online footprint. Everybody leaves one. Everybody’s on the internet, they're on their phones every day, and it would form part of our investigation. So we would expect to find something. I don't know what that will be, but it'll form part of the investigation," Williams said.

“It’s a puzzle that we put together, so there’s a number of different pieces, and it goes from witnesses and any video that may be available, what people saw, what people heard, and then our interaction with the accused."

Allison Hanes: Confronting the familiar foe of hatred

  Allison Hanes: Confronting the familiar foe of hatred When a gunman walked into a classroom at École Polytechnique in 1989, separated the men from the women, and opened fire on female engineering students, his misogynistic intentions were obvious. They were even confirmed in a screed that the mass killer of 14 women penned before taking his own life, describing prominent feminists as the real but unreachable targets of his murderous rage. Yet it took almost three decades to officially call the Montreal massacre what it was: a femicide . We should have learned then that words matter when it comes to confronting society’s worst demons.

Counter terrorism police officers have said the suspect package found at Glasgow University is linked with devices discovered around London . Bomb disposal officers detonated the item after it was found in the mailroom on Wednesday morning. Police Scotland is now "working closely together" with officers investigating finds at Heathrow and London City airports and Waterloo station. Staff and students were evacuated from buildings and no-one was injured. Classes were expected to return to normal on Thursday.

Police declared the attack a terrorist incident and believe it is "Islamist-related." The incident occurred in the neighborhood of Streatham around 2 pm local time. Just before 4 pm the police said via Twitter that the situation had been "fully contained." London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was in "close contact with the Met Commissioner and local representatives." A male suspect wearing a hoax explosive device was shot dead Sunday in south London by police officers after he stabbed two people in an Islamist-related terrorist incident, London ' s Metropolitan Police said .

Friends and co-workers have said Veltman grew up in Strathroy, Ont., but left home as a teen and went to work at the Gray Ridge egg farm. He lived in an apartment building in London and bought a used pickup truck about a month ago.

According to witnesses, immediately following Sunday’s attack, he was spotted outside a nearby shopping mall and asked a taxi driver to phone the police because he had just killed someone. His truck was allegedly outfitted with a ram bar.

Asked about the truck, as well as a helmet and body armor Veltman was allegedly wearing, Williams said it was part of the investigation. He said he did not know whether Veltman’s clothing had swastikas on it, as some witnesses have reported.

Read more: Thousands attend vigil for Muslim family killed, injured in London, Ont. attack

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has labelled the attack an act of terrorism, Williams said police were still trying to determine whether terrorism charges would be laid against Veltman.

“We really have to be careful with the terrorism charge. There's a high bar that’s been set in the legislation, and without getting into the elements of the offence, we just ... need to be cautious,” he said.

“So we’re working with our federal counterparts and and prosecutors as we move forward with that facet of the investigation.

“We only get to do this once. As I indicated, there's no re-dos. So we need to collect the evidence and then lay any appropriate charge. And if there's grounds to support such a charge, then we'll carry it through the court process.

“But it's not lost on us, the terrorism angle.”

Stewart.Bell@globalnews.ca

What is the government doing about Islamophobia in Canada? Here’s what we know .
Hate crimes have been on the rise in Canada, with a nine per cent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2019 compared to the previous year, according to Statistics Canada. One of the things cities can do, according to Elghawaby, is set up channels to make reporting these crimes easier. "The reason why it's so important to make it easier for people to report what they're experiencing, and the victimization that they're experiencing, is that really allows us to have a better snapshot and understanding of what is happening in our very own neighborhoods," Elghawaby said.

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This is interesting!