The man accused of plowing his pickup into a Muslim family in the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a “terrorist attack” had allegedly wearing body armor and laughed when police arrested him.
A taxi driver who witnessed Nathaniel Veltman’s arrest after the horrific attack said he was on break around 1 p.m. 21 Sunday when he noticed a bloody vehicle pulling behind him outside the Cherryhill Village Mall, the London Free Press of Canada reported.
The pickup driver allegedly said the cabbie should call police and said he had just killed someone.
Yellow Taxi London President Hassan Savehilaghi spoke to the news outlet for the cabbie, who was too desperate to discuss the incident in public.
“It was damaged with blood,”
The alleged attacker was wearing a bulletproof vest, a military-style helmet and clothing that may have been covered in swastikas, Savehilaghi said the cabbie told him.
Police have confirmed that the driver was wearing a body armor vest, but a spokesman declined to say if he also had anything on the swastika, Free Press reported.
“When they got him out of the vehicle, he laughed,” Savehilaghi said, adding that Veltman allegedly asked the cabbie to register his arrest.
“He is really traumatized. It is scary. You are all alone, ”Savehilaghi told Free Press.
Veltman, 20, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife, Madiha, 44, their daughter, Yumna, 15, and Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother.
The couple’s 9-year-old son, Fayez, was injured in the carnage.
The suspect, a part-time employee with egg packing, was described by colleagues as a “nice guy.”
He also has no known ties to hate groups – and a friend insisted he is not Islamophobic.
“Nate is not a radical terrorist. He is nothing like that. He is not Islamophobic. That’s not who this child is, ”the friend from the Middle East told the London Free Press of Canada.
The friend, who wished to remain anonymous, added that he never heard Veltman say a bad thing about the Middle East or Muslims.
“Nate was a very close friend and never said anything bad to me,” he said.
Another friend told Free Press that Veltman “never said anything hateful” about any groups.
“He is a Christian and has a good relationship with God. … He was always pretty calm towards other people, ”said the man, who also did not want to be named.
One of the two friends, who is also a colleague, said Veltman had problems with the steering of his new truck three days before the attack.
“I actually drove with him on Thursday,” he said, adding that on Friday Veltman asked him to finish his work for him because a family member had died.
The Free Press quoted an obituary from a cemetery confirming the death Friday of a 101-year-old woman who had several descendants named Veltman.
Obit suggests that Nathaniel Veltman was one of 21 great-grandchildren.
“It simply came to our notice then. That’s the last time I saw him, ”said the friend.