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This article was published 21/6/2021 (379 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The 20-year-old man charged with the first-degree murders of four members of a Muslim family in London is in the process of retaining a lawyer, court heard Monday.
The London police have said the June 6 attack was hate-motivated, and that Salman Afzaal, 46, Madiha Salman, 44, Yumna Afzaal, 15, Fayez Afzaal, 9, and Talat Afzaal, 74, were targeted because of their faith while out on a evening walk. Fayez Afzaal is the only survivor and was released from the hospital last week.
Last Monday, the federal Crown upgraded the first-degree murder and attempted murder charges against Nathaniel Veltman to include terrorism — meaning that he is not only accused of planning and deliberating killing the family with his recently-purchased pickup truck, but that his actions constitute terrorism activity.
Veltman will return to court on Monday to confirm he has hired lawyer Christopher Hicks.
The Afzaal family have been described as beloved community members and role models. Their deaths sparked widespread condemnation of Islamophobia, and federal politicians have agreed to call a national summit this summer to address the issue.
Alyshah Hasham is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and court for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @alysanmati