Mourners place flowers at the scene of a hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, which left four members of a family dead and their nine-year-old son in hospital. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

Mourners place flowers at the scene of a hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, which left four members of a family dead and their nine-year-old son in hospital. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins

‘I just had to try to help,’ says nurse who tried to save victims of Ontario attack

Nurse practitioner describes the horrific scene in the wake of family being run down

Miranda Campbell and her family were driving home Sunday night when they pulled up to a line of cars stopped at a green light.

Drivers were coming out of their vehicles, talking on their cellphones.

Maybe it’s a car crash, she thought, but there weren’t any damaged vehicles.

Then she saw the injured on the ground.

“You should go out there and help,” her husband told her.

Campbell, a nurse practitioner in London, Ont., was scared and confused.

“There were no ambulances, no police, just bystanders on their phones pacing,” she said.

When she opened the car door, the full thrust of the scene hit her.

“I’m trying to figure out what the hell happened, people were screaming and crying – it was chaos,” she said.

She recognized a local chiropractor who was trying to help. She saw a woman standing over an older woman on the ground, unsure what to do.

Campbell got down, checked for a pulse, but couldn’t find one. She didn’t want to move the injured woman in case of a spinal injury.

She noticed the woman’s traditional Muslim clothing was in tatters, leaving her exposed.

“I just covered her up, I wanted to give her dignity,” Campbell said.

Then she began chest compressions and didn’t stop until a paramedic arrived and took over.

Next to her a police officer was giving chest compressions to a younger woman. Campbell took her pulse. Nothing.

“There’s children, there’s children,” someone yelled.

She noticed a young boy on the ground.

“He was facing the whole thing: He saw his mom’s body laying there, his grandma’s body,” she said.

Then more screams.

“There’s another child!” someone yelled.

She saw a purple scrunchy on the sidewalk and a bunch of shoes.

“Their shoes were scattered all over the grass, all over the sidewalk,” Campbell said.

She looked closer at the shoes.

“All these tire tracks on them,” she said. “I saw the tire tracks that came up on the sidewalk, and up onto the grass, and then back out on the street again.”

By then a slew of first responders had arrived.

Campbell got back into her car, where her husband and their two teenage sons were waiting, and the family went home.

But she couldn’t stop thinking about the boy.

“I was praying all night that one of those adults would survive so that little, little boy is not going to be left alone,” Campbell said.

“He looked so scared and shaking and helpless on the ground covered up with a blanket – I can’t get that out of my head – I just wanted to give him a hug.”

She also kept thinking about the older woman she tried to help.

“When I saw her traditional clothing, I thought ‘I really hope this is not race related,” Campbell said.

“The next day when I found out, it just made me feel 100 times worse.”

Police said four members of a Muslim family were killed on Sunday when a man driving a black Dodge Ram smashed into them on a sidewalk as they waited to cross an intersection in the northwest end of the city. Police believe it was a targeted anti-Muslim hate crime.

Relatives identified the victims as Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, daughter Yumna Salman, 15, and her 74-year-old grandmother. The couple’s nine-year-old boy, Fayez, was seriously injured and remains in hospital.

“What the hell kind of world are we living in?” Campbell said.

Racism had been top of mind for her family. Campbell is Indigenous and her husband is Jamaican.

She said she had been talking to her children, who are biracial, about how to deal with racism, especially in the wake of the discovery of what is believed to be the unmarked graves of 215 children at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

“I tell my kids ‘you’re gonna experience racism all the time and it’s the way that you handle it is how you’re going to learn,’” Campbell said.

“You can’t help what other people think, but you can teach yourself not to treat other people badly.”

—Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Mosque to host vigil for family killed in London, Ont., vehicle attack

RELATED: Trudeau calls London, Ont., vehicle assault that killed Muslim family a ‘terrorist attack’

racismTerrorism

Just Posted

The ‘official’ opening of 2nd Edition Coworking in downtown Fernie, a project five years in the making by the Fernie Chamber of Commerce. Left to right: Executive Director of the Fernie Chamber Brad Parsell, incoming President of the Fernie Chamber Norm Fraser, outgoing President of the Fernie Chamber Anita Palmer, and Mayor of Fernie Ange Qualizza. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Fernie Chamber cuts the ribbon on 2nd Edition

The new coworking space in Fernie is now ‘officially’ open, but has been operating since early 2021

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Sparwood Mayor David Wilks with the new AED SaveStation installed at the Sparwood Leisure Centre. (Contributed by District of Sparwood)
Sparwood installs public AED

The SaveStation was installed thanks to a grant from CP Rail

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

(File)
“Gift card scam,” and “grandparent scam” are on the rise, Cranbrook RCMP say

Folks are falling for these scams: “No Government agency or reputable company will ever ask anyone to pay with gift cards in lieu of their fines”

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 13 to 19

Flag Day, Garbage Man Day, International Panic Day all coming up this week

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Most Read