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

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Curl B.C. chairperson Teri Palynchuk is this year’s winner of the Janette Robbins Award for leadership. Palynchuk is pictured here with the Curling Canada Foundation Cup along with past chairperson Peter Muir, left, and Curl B.C. CEO Scott Braley. (Photo courtesy Curl B.C.)
Nanaimo curling exec wins Curl B.C. leadership award

Teri Palynchuk receives Janette Robbins Award

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Island man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-week-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Most Read