Details emerge on Canadian massacre victims

By Nadine Yousif,BBC News, Toronto

AAPC Lawyers The Wickramasinghe familyAAPC Lawyers

Dhanushka Wickramasinghe (far left) with his wife and four young children

A Sri Lankan father who survived the massacre of his family in Canada said he returned home from work Wednesday to find his wife and four young children had been killed.

Dhanushka Wickramasinghe, 34, was also attacked but managed to overpower the suspect.

He is currently recovering in hospital from a cut to his eye and one of his hands.

A 19-year-old Sri Lankan student who lived with the family has been charged in the death.

The new details of the night the Wickramasinghe family was killed emerged from a series of media interviews with Bhante Suneetha, the resident monk at a local Buddhist monastery in Ottawa that the family attended.

Mr Suneetha, who visited the father in hospital on Thursday, said he was “greatly shocked” by what happened.

Ottawa police discovered the other family in their home in suburban Barrhaven after responding to emergency calls made around 10:52 p.m. local time (0352 GMT) on Wednesday.

Chief Eric Stubbs of the Ottawa Police Service said the calls came after a man, later determined to be Mr. Wickramasinghe, shouted to neighbors for help.

Responding officers then discovered the bodies of Mr Wickramasinghe’s wife, Darshani Dilanthika Ekanayake, 35, and their four young children: Inuka Wickramasinghe, seven, Ashwini Wickramasinghe, four, Ranaya Wickramasinghe, three , and Kelly Wickramasinghe, two months.

Police also found the body of Amarakoonmudiayansela Ge Gamini Amarakoon, 40, an acquaintance who lived with the family.

The Wickramasinghe family were newcomers to Canada. Naradha Kodituwakku, former president of the Sri Lanka Canada Association in Ottawa, told reporters they arrived last year.

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In an interview with CBC, Mr. Suneetha described them as kind people who often help out at the local temple.

“They are innocent people and also very helpful. It doesn’t matter [who would ask] to get help from them,” he said.

Febrio De-Zoysa, an international student from Sri Lanka, was arrested at his home without incident and charged with the murders, which police say were carried out using an “object resembling a knife “.

Ottawa Algonquin College released a media statement on Thursday confirming that Mr. De-Zoysa was enrolled at their college and that his last semester of attendance was winter 2023.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the Sri Lankan Consulate General in Toronto expressed its condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

He also alerted parents of those studying abroad from Sri Lanka “to pay more attention to their children during their transition and integration” in a foreign country like Canada.

Police did not specify a motive for the crime, saying the families were “innocent victims” and the investigation was ongoing.

Mr. De-Zoysa made his first appearance in Ottawa court on Thursday, where he was formally charged with six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

A vigil will be held for the family on Saturday, and a GoFundMe launched for Mr Wickramasinghe by the Buddhist Congress of Canada had raised more than CA$53,000 ($39,300; £30,500) as of Friday afternoon.

Chad Sutton

"Typical zombieaholic. General twitter fanatic. Food fanatic. Gamer. Unapologetic analyst."

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