‘Some solace’ after ‘heinous crimes’: Family speaks after London attacker convicted
Published November 16, 2023 at 5:16 pm
WINDSOR, Ont. — Shortly after Nathaniel Veltman was found guilty Thursday of four counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder for his attack on a Muslim family, relatives of the victims gathered outside a courthouse in Windsor, Ont., to make a public statement.
Tabinda Bukhari, whose daughter Madiha Salman was one of the four people murdered by Veltman in London, Ont., on June 6, 2021, read a statement on behalf of the family, telling reporters that the verdict offered “some solace” after a crime that had left them with an “irreplaceable void.”
Salman Afzaal, 46; his 44-year-old wife, Madiha Salman; their 15-year-old daughter, Yumna; and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, were killed in the attack, while the couple’s nine-year-old son was seriously hurt but survived.
Here is the family’s statement:
We, the relatives of our beloved “Our London Family”… wish to convey our gratitude for the support and solidarity expressed during these last 2.5 difficult years. We have felt this immense support from friends, family, and strangers throughout Canada from all walks of life, including those from various colours, creeds, and religions. We can never truly convey how meaningful everyone’s outpouring of support has been. The affirmation that our neighbours and friends stand with us is valued beyond measure.
We want to thank each, and every person involved in this process. From the first responders, the police, those at the scene, the witnesses, the team of crown attorneys, the jury, the judge, and to all those involved in the pursuit of justice, we cannot thank you enough.
While this verdict does not bring our loved ones back, it is a recognition by the justice system that the perpetrator of these heinous crimes is indeed a murderer and a terrorist. He intended to instill fear and terror in our hearts. However, this wasn’t just a crime against the Muslim community, but rather, an attack against the safety and security of all Canadians.
The enduring grief, trauma, and the irreplaceable void left by the loss of multiple generations has pierced us profoundly. The victims, who were valuable contributors to the Canadian society through their hard work and education, were taken away abruptly, leaving a nine-year-old orphaned. Their loss and our pain will always remain palpable. This tragedy underscores the critical need for urgent societal reflection and action.
This trial and verdict are a reminder that there is still much work to be done to address hatred in all forms that lives in our communities. His actions were intended to drive people apart. This trial forced us to return to that intersection once again. That dreadful crossroad where the very best & worst of humanity converged two and a half years ago. That juxtaposition between the diabolical intentions of a hell-bent criminal, and the love expressed by beautiful, teary-eyed strangers has become a catalyst for unity and justice.
This verdict represents to us, some solace for the crimes that were committed on that fateful day, June 6, 2021, which will forever be imprinted in our memory.
We have not been grieving alone. We are not healing alone. We pray that we can move forward to build a decent and just society.
We remember. We mourn. We heal. We will move forward together.
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