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Ottawa mass killing suspect makes brief court appearance


The suspect accused in the mass killing of six people, including four children, at a Barrhaven home last week, made a brief appearance in an Ottawa courtroom Thursday afternoon.

Febrio De-Zoysa, 19, appeared by phone before a date was set for his next court appearance.

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

De-Zoysa is facing six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He is next scheduled to appear in court March 28.

His lawyer says he is currently in protective custody.

"I have been in touch with his family. They're obviously very upset," Ewan Lyttle told reporters outside the courthouse on Elgin Street. "I can comment that he's in protective custody. He's doing okay."

Lyttle wouldn't comment on whether he would be seeking a mental health assessment, saying the review of disclosure is "probably a few months from now." 

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 last attended classes there in the winter of 2023.

Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs says he was an acquaintance of the family, and was living in the home.

De-Zoysa made his first court appearance last week and was represented by duty counsel. He was ordered not to have contact with five people, including the surviving husband and father.

The victims, all Sri Lankan nationals who were new to Canada, 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 husband and father, Dhanushka Wickramasinghe, was taken to hospital in serious condition, but his condition was considered stable.

A vigil was held last Saturday 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.

The funeral date for the victims has not been announced.

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Katie Griffin and Josh Pringle and CTV National News' Judy Trinh Top Stories

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