'Abhorrent': Wellington County officials respond to video referencing targeted hit-and-run in London
KITCHENER -- Officials in Wellington County have issued a statement in response to a social media video they say makes “disturbing references” the targeted hit-and-run in London that killed four people earlier this week.
A joint statement from Warden Kelly Linton and Minto Mayor George Bridge said the video was posted in Harriston on TikTok, and included "disturbing references" to the attack.
Four members of the same family were killed, and London police said they believe the family was targeted due to their Muslim faith.
Twenty-year-old Nathaniel Veltman is facing four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Salman Afzaal, his wife Madiha Salman, their daughter Yumna Afzaal and Afzaal’s 74-year old mother Talat. Veltman is also charged with attempted murder. Nine-year-old Fayez Afzaal survived, but remains in hospital.
“The anti-Muslim sentiment expressed in this disgusting video is abhorrent to the residents of Wellington County and the Town of Minto, and all efforts must be used to denounce hatred in all its forms. Islamaphobia and all forms of racism have no place in our community, and we must ensure that messages of hate and fear fall on deaf ears,” the joint statement from Linton and Bridge said.
They added the video has been viewed by municipal officials and Wellington County OPP.
Police said they are aware of the video and are investigating.
Linton said the video was brought to his attention on Friday morning. He told CTV Kitchener he hasn't seen the video, but it was described to him by others who had watched it.
"It's terrible to see (racism) in your community," he said. "We felt, because it was in our jurisdiction and in the County of Wellington and within the Town of Minto, that it was incumbent on the leaders to say something about it and make sure we did denounce it."
"Racism of any kind has no place in Wellington County," Linton added.
He said staff take incidents like this very seriously.
"Something like this is impactful for them and they hate to see it," Linton said. "We're welcoming to everyone in this county and we 100 per cent denounce any form of racism and any form of Islamophobia."