Court documents portray London attack suspect as prone to anger, medicated for mental illness
New details about the man accused of intentionally driving his truck into a family in London, Ont., killing four, are emerging from court documents in which his parents reportedly describe him as “peculiar and challenging.”
Nathaniel Veltman, 20, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for driving his Dodge pickup truck into a Muslim family walking on a downtown London street Sunday night.
Salman Afzaal, his wife, Madiha, their daughter, Yumna, and Afzaal’s mother were all killed. The family’s nine-year-old son was injured but survived.
Police believe it was an attack motivated by hate. One witness said Veltman was wearing a swastika on his shirt and was laughing when he was arrested.
Documents filed in Veltman’s parents’ 2016 divorce proceedings make no mention of racism or radicalization, but portray someone prone to anger and who was medicated for mental illness.
According to divorce records, his parents agreed to encourage him to continue therapy and to ensure he was not left unsupervised with his younger siblings.
Veltman and his twin sister are the eldest of the family’s six children, who now range in age from 10 to 20 years old.
Veltman’s father, Mark Veltman, works at the Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology in Sarnia, Ont. His mother, Alysia Bisset, has worked as a personal trainer.
“He was often awkward socially, lacked confidence and was preoccupied with what others thought,” according to a 2017 report on custody issues, prepared by London psychologist Dr. Richard Zayed, in a section titled “Nathaniel’s struggles.”
As his parents' marriage faltered, Veltman became “frighteningly angry” and was particularly disrespectful to his mother “raising his voice and towering over her in an intimidating way, and pounding on doors,” the report said. His mother said she locked herself in her room to avoid him.
The child support Veltman’s father paid was an issue in his relationship with Veltman’s mother, the records show. Veltman blamed her for his father living in “a bad apartment” in Sarnia.
Although he attended a Strathroy high school, the report says Veltman was angry at his mother for homeschooling his siblings.
The psychologist report also cites Veltman’s involvement in an incident “reportedly shoving a female peer into a locker, resulting in him being threatened with assault charges,” although there is no indication he was ever charged.
The records show Veltman left his mother’s home in Strathroy in January 2017, after his parents split, and through counsel, legally withdrew from parental control. He moved in with a girlfriend before getting his own apartment.
Veltman later apologized to his mother for his behaviour, the report says. She tried to address his issues with him but, “Nate refused to discuss these issues, rejected the need for boundaries and refused to discuss his mental health,” Zayed wrote.
She told the psychologist that “he is not a bad kid” but said he “lacks discernment” and does not make good decisions.
Veltman’s aunt told CTV News that the family is “devastated” by the allegations but declined further comment.
Veltman is due to appear in court in London on Thursday.
If you need mental health help in the wake of the London, Ont. vehicle attack, support and resources are available here.