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Candlelight vigil for the 6 victims of Ottawa's mass stabbing takes place Saturday


Hundreds of friends and residents in Barrhaven attended a candlelight vigil on Saturday for the six victims who were tragically killed Wednesday night.

The vigil started at 11 a.m. in Palmadeo Park in Barrhaven, near the home where they were killed.

Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, Police Chief Eric Stubbs and the Sri Lankan High Commissioner were among the people who attended the sombre gathering, which included a presentation of flowers and prayers.

“Those in misery, be free from misery,” said Bhante Suneetha, a resident monk at Hilda Jayewardenaramaya Buddhist Monastery where the family worshipped.

Meanwhile, Barrhaven East Councillor Wilson Lo told CFRA Live with Andrew Pinset earlier this morning that Ottawa residents are extending their support to the first responders who were on the scene when the tragedy happened.

"I have a lot of gratitude for the first responders who had to respond to this, because despite what they face normally, I'm sure there wasn't enough preparation for what they had to see this week. It's also really nice to know that a lot of the residents here in Barrhaven also had people reaching out to them checking in on them from across the city, out as well," said Lo.

Lo adds that the event is just "shocking."

"There are a lot of families who have similar compositions in the community. Sometimes you have to really see something tangible to make it believable, especially in a place like our community," Lo added.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise money to support the families of the victims. The financial support will be coordinated through the Buddhist Congress of Canada on Heron Road.

As of 1 p.m. on Friday, the campaign had raised more than $34,000.

Donations can also be submitted to the Buddhist Congress of Canada.

Homicide leaving father in 'great shock'

A mother, her four young children and a family acquaintance were killed at their family home on Berrigan Drive in Barrhaven. A 19-year-old international student, who was living with the family, is facing six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Ottawa police investigative sources tell CTV News at this point they're trying to determine if one or multiple knives were used in the attack.

On Wednesday, officers responding to a 911 call found the bodies of six people inside the home. The suspect was arrested inside the house without incident.

The victims have been identified as 35-year-old Banbaranayake Gama Walwwe Darshani Dilanthika Ekanyake and her four children – Kelly, Ranaya, Ashwini and Inuka. A family acquaintance, 40-year-old Gamini Amarakoon Amarakoon Mudiyanselage, was also found deceased at the home.

Police say the family were newcomers to Canada from Sri Lanka.

Court documents identify the surviving father as Dhanushka Wickramasinghe, who is continuing to recover in hospital.

The father is in "great shock," Suneetha said.

Speaking to CTV News Ottawa's Natalie van Rooy, Suneetha said the eldest Wickramasinghe child, Inuka, was enrolled in classes there.

"Last Sunday was his first class," Suneetha said. "Very bright and courageous for a little boy. He had a beautiful future."

Suneetha, who visited the father on Thursday in hospital, said he was attacked while returning home from his evening cleaning job.

"He lost half of his finger. Two fingers damaged, big cut to his face," Suneetha said. "The suspect didn't have a place to stay. The father said, 'You can stay in my basement.'"

Wickramasinghe, Suneetha said, came to Canada as an Algonquin College student. After he got his diploma, he got his work permit and brought his family here.

The father also worked as an Uber Driver in Ottawa, according to the landlord.

With files from The Canadian Press, CTV News national correspondent Judy Trinh, and CTV News Ottawa's Natalie van Rooy and Josh Pringle Top Stories

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