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'Your city is here with you': Ottawa honours the six victims of Barrhaven's mass killing


The entire community in Ottawa honoured the six victims of the city's biggest murder in its recent history Sunday afternoon through a public funeral service. 

The multi-faith service took place at the Infinity Convention Center at 2901 Gibford Dr. from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The service was attended by community representatives, including Ottawa's Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Gary Anandasangaree, Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod, religious leaders from various faiths and other community leaders.

About 200 people were in attendance, including the surviving father, Dhanushka Wickramasinghe.

In a statement released to media, Wickramasinghe said the tragedy has shaken him and his family deeply.

"I am devastated and torn by the loss of my beloved wife Dharshini and my beautiful angels Inuka, Ranaya, Ashvini and Kelly and my dear friend Gamini," he said, in part.

"I would like to thank the Ottawa First Responders, Ottawa Police, Victim Services, Ottawa Hospitals for your quick response which helped me navigate through the initial shock and chaos that followed because of this tragedy.

Wickramasinghe also thanked the Buddhist Congress of Canada, the Ottawa Sri Lankan Community, and the people of Sri Lanka "for being a pillar of support during this unimaginably difficult time."

"I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the public for their thoughts and prayers as I navigate through the aftermath of this tragedy," he added.

Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe extended his condolenses to the family during remarks made at the funeral.

"Your city is here with you. We will love and support you in the days ahead," said Sutcliffe.

"I want to express gratitude to the first responders that arrived on the scene. No amount of training could ever prepare a first responder, a police officer or paramedics. Our community is deeply grateful to you."

Principal of the Monsignor Paul Baxter School Vincenza Nicoletti, where four-year-old Ashwini and seven-year-old Inuka attended, remembered the two children with a statement from school staff.

Nicoletti noted how proud their parents were of them.

"Four-year-old Ashwini Wickramasinghe -- when she started school in September, she was quiet and shy. It was amazing to see Ashwini become more talkative throughout the year," Nicoletti said.

"She loved to play at the doll centre. Was always so proud to show what she had created at the art table."

Minister of Indigenous-Crown Relations Gary Anandasangaree, appearing on behalf of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, also made remarks.

"There are no words to explain and to understand the enormous grief you are all experiencing today," he said.

"There will be difficult times ahead, but I can sure you this community will stand with you as we continue to mourn."

Barrhaven East city councillor Wilson Lo told CTV News Channel his community has rallied around the surviving father. 

"He was there at the funeral today and it certainly was not easy to think about how his world has basically been taken away from him," Lo said.

"The best support you can get is from each other."

Six books of condolences were available for people to sign. Teddy bears and cards have been taken to the temple where the surviving father worships.

A mother, her four children, and a family acquaintance were killed inside a two-storey townhouse on Berrigan Drive in Barrhaven -- an Ottawa suburb -- on March 6. Their father was seriously injured in the attack, but survived.

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.The victims have been identified as 35-year-old Banbaranayake Gama Walwwe Darshani Dilanthika Ekanyake and her four children: seven-year-old Inuka Wickramasinghe, four-year-old Ashwini Wickramasinghe, three-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. He had a wife and two children living in Sri Lanka.

The family had moved to Canada in recent months with three of their children -- the two-and-a-half month old infant was born in Canada.

Meanwhile, the suspect accused in the mass killing who was living rent free with the family -- Febrio De-Zoysa, 19 -- made a brief appearance in an Ottawa courtroom Thursday afternoon.

He appeared by phone before a date was set for his next court appearance on March 28.

His lawyer told CTV News Ottawa he is currently in protective custody.

De-Zoysa is facing six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

With files from the Canadian Press and CTV News Ottawa's Katie Griffin and Katelyn Wilson Top Stories

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