40-year-old Cambridge man charged in Hamilton hate crime attack
CAMBRIDGE -- A 40-year-old Cambridge man has been charged in relation to what Hamilton police are calling a hate crime attack.
Police say a Muslim woman and her daughter were walking through an Ancaster plaza parking lot on Monday night when they were nearly hit by a car – and the incident escalated from there.
A man allegedly yelled threats, including death threats, as well as slurs targeting the Muslim community.
"These threats were direct, they were targeted," said Const. Krista-Lee Ernst with Hamilton police.
When the family tried to get away and hide behind bushes across the street, police say the man tracked them down.
"The accused sought them out, located them and continued to yell slurs in their direction," Ernst said.
Police said when one of the victims screamed for help, witnesses intervened and the man ran off.
Vince Licata, 40, of Cambridge, is charged with three counts of utter a threat to cause death, two counts of assault with a weapon, dangerous operation and fail to comply with probation.
Hamilton police say they are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
"We are shaken but unbroken after the attack on our family," the family involved in the incident said in a statement released through the National Council of Canadian Muslims. "Let us be clear: this individual attempted to terrorize our family."
The incident has also left Hamilton's Muslim community shaken.
"We have to be careful, especially the women who have a visible look like a hijab or something," said Muhammad Naeem, who attends the Hamilton Mosque. "They become more conscious and they have to be more careful."
Mohammad Darr, with the Islamic Centre of Cambridge, says members of the community there are increasingly worried after the attack in London that killed four family members and now the situation in Ancaster.
"We have some people talking about it, asking us if we're doing anything to protect, hire security, these are the questions, people are concerned," he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the incident, posting on social media that he is "deeply disturbed" and promising to "stand together and take action."