'Mom, he's following us, run!' - Hamilton imam fears for family after man charged with hate crime


Imam Kamal Gurgi says he was leading an evening prayer at the Hamilton Downtown Mosque when he saw multiple missed phone calls from his wife.

And he says what she told him when he called back frightened him.

"She said, 'A man was trying to kill us,'" he said in an interview on Friday afternoon.

It was supposed to be a routine trip to the Shoppers Drug Mart in the Ancaster Meadowlands for his wife, 62, and daughter, 26.

The women were wearing hijabs, walking through a parking lot around 9:30 p.m. ET last Monday when police say they were almost hit by a vehicle pulling out of a parking spot.

Gurgi says his wife pulled their daughter out of the vehicle's path.

Police say the situation escalated, with the driver using racist slurs toward the Muslim community.

The women ignored him and walked away, Gurgi says.

"And then my daughter turned her head around ... and she said, 'Mom, he's following us, run!' "

Police say the man allegedly drove after them in his truck as Gurgi's wife and daughter fled.

They hid in nearby bushes, police say, but the man found them and threatened to kill them. That's when bystanders heard Gurgi's wife and daughter call out for help and intervened.

Police have arrested a suspect, 40-year-old Vince Licata of Cambridge, Ont., and he appeared in court earlier this week.

Licata faces charges of:

  • Assault with a weapon.
  • Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
  • Uttering death threats.
  • Violating probation.