WARNING: The details in this article are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers
Three constables testified Thursday in Superior Court in the ongoing trial of Nathaniel Veltman, 22.
He is on trial for four counts of terrorism-motivated first-degree murder and one count of terrorism-motivated attempted murder.
Four members of the Afzaal family died, and a young boy was seriously injured, after a pickup truck hit them on the sidewalk at the intersection of Hyde Park Road and South Carriage Road on June 6, 2021 in London, Ont.
Const. Michael Olszowy was on his 12th shift with the London Police Service, being coached by Const. Brock Dease, when they were dispatched to the accident.
In testimony that was at times difficult for the officer to explain and for the family in the courthouse to hear, Dease described the injuries to the victims he found.
He told the jury the first person he saw was an elderly woman lying on her back on the street, with what Dease believed were broken legs and arms, and injuries to her abdomen and face.
He testified, “Citizens were yelling and screaming that a young boy had been struck,” so he left the woman in the care of another officer and went to find the boy.
Dease said the boy was “Crying and asking questions,” with cuts on his hands. Once again, citizens told him there was another victim.
He described this victim as a teenager, and said she was lying under a ‘for sale’ sign with her eyes open and she was moving her head, but didn’t appear to be able to move her body. A paramedic arrived to take care of her.
Dease said he returned to the elderly woman where a firefighter advised they had stopped performing CPR.
It was then he noticed a large crowd had gathered so he asked them to back up, and the officer repositioned his cruiser to block traffic.
Dease told the jury he also saw tire tracks in the grass.
Olszowy meanwhile testified about seeing a woman lying on the ground.
His evidence was cut short by the defence when a legal argument ensued between the lawyers, and Olszowy was not asked any further questions.
The third officer to testify Thursday was Const. Patti Leavoy-Costa.
She was en route to the collision scene when she got dispatched to a nearby mall for the apprehension of a suspect.
When she pulled into the lot, Leavoy-Costa testified, “What immediately caught my attention was the helmet (worn by the suspect).”
The jury has previously heard the suspect – Nathaniel Veltman – was wearing a military-style helmet and bulletproof vest at the time of his arrest.
Leavoy-Costa parked her cruiser in the front of the truck and she noticed it was running so she shut it off and pulled the key out of the ignition because it was “smoking.”
After Veltman was placed in a cruiser, Leavoy-Costa searched the truck and found a machete in the pocket of the driver side front door and a pocketknife on the centre console.
She described Veltman as “excitable” and told the jury he was “continually yelling,” but also “appeared to be smiling.”
Defence lawyer Christopher Hicks objected to her characterization of his client, and so the jury was released for the day Thursday.
The trial will resume Friday morning at 10 a.m. with the resumption of Leavoy-Costa’s evidence.
World News || Latest News || U.S. News