Victims of Ottawa mass stabbing threw birthday party for alleged killer just days ago

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Published March 8, 2024 at 7:43 am

ottawa family killed birthday party

A family slain in a stabbing spree at an Ottawa home late Wednesday threw a birthday party for their alleged killer just days ago, says a religious leader who knew them.

The father who survived the attack, which killed his wife and four children, was in “great shock” on Thursday, said Bhante Suneetha.

The resident monk at Hilda Jayewardenaramaya Buddhist Monastery, which the family attended, said he visited his friend at the hospital.

He told Suneetha that nothing seemed “wrong” in the lead-up to the rampage, the monk said.

“They (even) helped him to celebrate,” he told The Canadian Press in an interview. “They organized a celebration of his nineteenth birthday last week, a few days ago.”

Police were called to the scene of a suburban home Wednesday night where they discovered the bodies of a mother, her four young children and a family friend from the aftermath of a vicious attack.

The dead include Darshani Ekanyake, 35, along with her seven-year-old son, Inuka Wickramasinghe, and her three daughters: Ashwini, 4; two-year-old Rinyana; and Kelly, a two-and-a-half-month-old baby. A family friend, Amarakoonmubiayansela Ge Gemini Amarakoon, was also killed.

The father, identified in court documents as Dhanushka Wickramasinghe, suffered serious injuries but is in stable condition, according to Ottawa police.

Febrio De-Zoysa, a 19-year-old international student who had been living with the family, has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

The victims and suspect are Sri Lankan nationals, according to police.

The father told Suneetha that there had been no issues between the family and De-Zoysa before the attack.

De-Zoysa had recently moved into their basement as he pursued his studies in Ottawa. The father had even met the suspect’s parents in Sri Lanka.

But De-Zoysa was having problems at school and had become suicidal, Suneetha learned from the father.

Instead of killing himself, he “killed someone else,” Suneetha said.

The resident monk said that as the father tells it, he was coming home from a cleaning job late Wednesday night when De-Zoysa suddenly attacked him.

“When he opened the door, that murderer hit him and stabbed him,” said Suneetha.

The father resisted De-Zoysa and asked whether he had hurt his family.

“The murderer said ‘No, I didn’t do anything (to) them’. And he released him and went to the kids, and they’re gone.”

Suneetha said the father had part of two fingers cut off, and one has been repaired. He also suffered a slash across his face between his nose and his eye and stab wounds to the chest and back.

The monk said he got to know the family because they attended his monastery regularly since arriving in Canada after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their seven-year-old son had even begun religious classes there just last week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2024.

Nojoud Al Mallees, The Canadian Press

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