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19-year-old charged in killing of 6 people, including 4 children in Barrhaven homicides, Ottawa police say


A mother, her four children, and a family acquaintance have been killed in a "mass killing" at a home in the Ottawa suburb of Barrhaven, Ottawa police say.

Six people were found dead inside a two-storey townhouse on Berrigan Drive late Wednesday night. The suspect was arrested inside the house without incident.

"At about 10:52 yesterday evening, the Ottawa Police Service received two 911 calls from the Berrigan Drive area reporting a suspicious incident where a male was yelling and asking people to call 911," Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

"Officers entered the home to check on the safety of those inside, and that is where they began to discover the six victims, the youngest of which is less than three months old. The family are newcomers to Canada and are originally from Sri Lanka."

The victims have been identified as 35-year-old Banbaranayake Gama Walwwe Darshani Dilanthika Ekanyake and her four children: 7-year-old Inuka Wickramasinghe, 4-year-old Ashwini Wickramasinghe, 3-year-old Ranaya Wickramasinghe and two-month-old Kelly Wickramasinghe.  A sixth man, 40-year-old Gamini Amarakoon Amarakoon Mudiyanselage, was also found deceased at the home.

The Wickramasinghe family is pictured here in this undated image. The four young children and their mother were killed in their Ottawa home on March 6, 2024 alongside a family friend. The father was seriously injured in the attack. A 19-year-old suspect is in custody and is facing multiple counts of first-degree murder.

Stubbs says Gamini Amarakoon Amarakoon Mudiyanselage was an acquaintance of the family and had been living at the home.

The woman's husband, Dhanushka Wickramasinghe, remains in hospital with serious injuries. He is in stable condition.

"The investigation has found that an edged weapon was used to cause the deaths and injuries," Stubbs said. "To be clear, this was a mass killing, not a mass shooting."

Febrio De-Zoysa, 19, is facing six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He cannot have contact with five people, including the surviving husband and father.

Febrio De-Zoysa, 19, is facing six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the deaths of 35-year-old Darshani Banbaranayake Gama Walwwe Darshani Dilanthika Ekanyake and her four children: 7-year-old Inuka Wickramasinghe, 4-year-old Ashwini Wickramasinghe, 2-year-old Rinyana Wickramasinghe and two-month-old Kelly Wickramasinghe and 40-year-old Amarakoonmubiayansela Ge Gamini Amarakoon.

De-Zoysa did not have a lawyer when he appeared in court Thursday afternoon. He was represented by duty counsel.

Police say De-Zoysa is a Sri Lankan national who is believed to be in Canada as a student. A spokesperson for Algonquin College told CTV News Ottawa he attended classes there. "It appears that his last semester of attendance was Winter 2023," a statement from the college said.

College president and CEO Claude Brulé shared his condolences.

"Algonquin College mourns along with our community after learning the devastating news of the six individuals who were senselessly murdered in Barrhaven yesterday," he wrote. "This news is shocking to us all, and is a tragic loss to our city and community. Let us honour the memory of the two adults and four children who lost their lives, as well as share our deepest sympathies to the surviving family, friends, and loved ones."

Stubbs says the suspect is an acquaintance of the family, and was living in the home.

"We know there are a lot of questions about why this tragedy occurred, this is the focus of our Homicide Unit as they diligently investigate this tragic crime," Stubbs said. "Our investigators and forensic teams are working very hard to determine all of the facts and ensure justice is done."

Several Ottawa police cruisers were parked outside a townhouse on Berrigan Drive Thursday morning. Yellow police tape could be seen blocking access to the back of the homes.

"This is a big tragedy that's happened on our street, especially with kids involved," resident Shanti Ramesh told CTV News.

Ramesh says she didn't hear anything last night, but saw police officers and paramedics at the scene.

"One guy was sitting on the left side of the driveway; he was yelling."

At 9 a.m., investigators began removing something from the home and placing it in a van parked in the driveway. Officers blocked the view of the front door with a white sheet.

"This is unbelievable for the whole neighbourhood," resident Ahmed Saed told The Canadian Press.

The Sri Lankan High Commission says it was not given any information about the suspect but staff assisted the police in notifying the next of kin in Sri Lanka.

Ottawa police officers exit a home on Berrigan Drive in Barrhaven, where six people were located deceased Wednesday night. (James Fish/CTV Morning Live)

A vigil has been established at the nearby Palmadeo Park, at the corner of Palmadeo Drive and Rodeo Drive, in memory of the victims.  Police are asking the public to avoid the crime scene on Berrigan Drive while police investigate.

A vigil at Palmadeo Park has formed for the six victims killed at a home in Barrhaven, in the worst mass killing in Ottawa's history. March 7, 2024. (Natalie van Rooy/CTV News Ottawa)

The Ottawa Catholic School Board says two of the victims attended Monsignor Paul Baxter School in Barrhaven. Inuka was a Grade 2 student, while Ashwini was in Junior Kindergarten.

"Our deepest sympathies and sincerest condolences go to the families and loved ones of the victims during this incredibly challenging time. We cannot imagine the pain and sorrow they must be experiencing," Principal Vincenza Nicoletti said in a letter to parents.

"As a close-knit Catholic school community, we are here to support one another. Grief counselling and crisis support services will be available to students and staff affected by this tragedy over the next few days and as long as needed. Our priority is ensuring everyone receives the care and assistance they need."

Nicoletti said the school did not tell students about the deaths.

Yellow police tape at the back of a home on Berrigan Drive in Barrhaven. Ottawa police say six people were found deceased at the home Wednesday night. (James Fish/CTV Morning Live)

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board said in a statement that while none of the children attended OCDSB schools, the event has deeply affected the community.

"We would like to extend our deepest condolences to all who may be affected by the tragic events in Barrhaven. Additional resources from the OCDSB mental health team have been deployed to support schools in the area. Staff will be extra sensitive to the needs of students at this time."

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe posted a statement on social media, calling the deaths of six people, "one of the most shocking incidents of violence in our city's history."

"I was devastated to learn of the multiple homicide in Barrhaven," Sutcliffe said.

"We are proud to live in a safe community but this news is distressing to all Ottawa residents. Ginny and I are thinking of the family members and neighbours of the victims. Thank you to our emergency responders who are investigating and supporting those who are affected by this terrible event."

In an interview on CTV Morning Live, Mayor Sutcliffe said he was "shocked and devastated" to hear the news six people were killed in the city.

"It's incredibly troubling and my thoughts go out to the family members and the neighbours in Barrhaven who must be shaken up by these events," Sutcliffe said.

"The police are providing support to the neighbours and to the family."

Speaking on CTV News at Six, Sutcliffe said his thoughts are with the father.

"Tonight, I'm thinking about the fact that there is a relatively young man in hospital in Ottawa who lost his wife and all four of his young children. I just cannot imagine what he's going through and the grief that he and those close to him must be experiencing right now." 

Sutcliffe said he would hold a moment of silence Friday morning.

Barrhaven East Coun. Wilson Lo said, "I'm saddened to learn of the tragic loss of six Barrhaven neighbours last night."

"My heart and mind are with their loved ones and neighbours close by. OPS have a person in custody and will complete a thorough investigation. I'm confident they will continue to keep us safe."

Premier Doug Ford calls the news of the mass killings in Ottawa "heartbreaking."

"My thoughts are with the family and friends of the six victims and the entire Ottawa community who is reeling from this terrible tragedy," Ford said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Nepean MPP Lisa Macleod said on social media, "My community has woken up to shock, grief and tragedy today as 6 people, including four children, have been murdered."

"There are no words for the heartbreak me and my neighbours feel for the surviving family, friends & playmates of the deceased."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the homicide while speaking to reporters.

"Obviously, our first reactions are all ones of shock and horror at this terrible violence," Trudeau said. "We're expecting that the community reaches out to support family and friends as Canadians always do, and we expect that the police of jurisdiction to be doing the work and keeping us all informed of this terrible tragedy."

A woman places a candle on the table in a park where flowers and teddy bears had been placed during a vigil for the six people killed, Thursday, March 7, 2024 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Conservative Party leader and Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre says he's "heartbroken" to hear about the six deaths in Ottawa.

"My thoughts are with the loved ones of the victims and the entire community grieving this tragic loss."

The homicide scene on Berrigan Drive is located off of Longfields Drive and near Berrigan Elementary School and Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School.  Monsignor Paul Baxter School is also located nearby.

Ottawa police say six people were killed inside a home on Berrigan Drive in Barrhaven Wednesday night. (Google Maps)

"This is a tragic and complex investigation, and investigative teams remain on Berrigan Drive," police said.

Barrhaven is a suburb in Ottawa, located approximately 25 minutes south of downtown.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ottawa Police Service Homicide Unit at 613-236-1222 ext. 5493.

With files from The Canadian Press


Ottawa police say one of the victims, Ranaya Wickramasinghe, is 3-years-old, not 4-years-old as previously reported. Top Stories

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