Youngest victim of ‘senseless’ Ottawa killings was just months old. What we know

Click to play video: 'Ottawa police identify victims, suspect in city’s worst mass killing'
Ottawa police identify victims, suspect in city’s worst mass killing
WATCH: Ottawa police identify victims, suspect in city's worst mass killing – Mar 7, 2024

The six people – including four children and two adults – found dead inside a home in suburban Ottawa in what police are calling a “mass killing” were new to Canada from Sri Lanka, with the youngest victim just two-and-a-half months old.

The city’s mayor has called it one of the “most shocking” cases of violence in Ottawa’s history.

Click to play video: 'Ottawa homicide: Youngest victim of “senseless” killings less than 3 months old, police say'
Ottawa homicide: Youngest victim of “senseless” killings less than 3 months old, police say

Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs said the father of the family survived and was taken to hospital to be treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries. The 19-year-old suspect was arrested and charged with six counts of first-degree murder.

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The Canadian Press reported that the family’s husband and father is identified in court documents as Dhanushka Wickramasinghe. Global News has not independently verified that report.

Click to play video: 'Ottawa homicide: 4 children, 2 adults found dead inside Barrhaven home'
Ottawa homicide: 4 children, 2 adults found dead inside Barrhaven home

The 35-year-old mother of the four children is among the victims. The other deceased children were aged seven, four and two years old.  A sixth victim, a male, was also found dead at the scene, police said.

The victims are:

  • Darshani Banbaranayake Gama Walwwe Darshani Dilanthika Ekanyake (35 years old)
  • Inuka Wickramasinghe (seven years old)
  • Ashwini Wickramasinghe (four years old)
  • Rinyana Wickramasinghe (two years old)
  • Kelly Wickramasinghe (two-and-a-half-months)
  • Amarakoomubiayansela Ge Gamini Amarakoon (40 years old)

Around 10:52 p.m. Wednesday, police received two 911 calls after a man was yelling in the street asking people to call the police. Stubbs later confirmed that the man yelling for help was the father.

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“I want to emphasize this was a senseless act of violence perpetrated on purely innocent people. I know our whole community is shocked and mourning this event,” Stubbs said.

“I want to offer my condolences to the loved ones of all the victims for this unimaginable loss. We are offering supports and we know the community is mobilizing.”

Stubbs says 19-year-old Febrio De-Zoysa has been charged with six charges of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He added that the suspect is a Sri Lankan national and was in Canada as a student. Stubbs said a “knife-like object” was used. The police chief emphasized De-Zoysa is the only suspect.

Stubbs said that De-Zoysa was living in the home with the family.

“We understand he was living in the house as well, as we described. We still have a lot of work to do to really understand exactly everybody’s situation,” Stubbs told reporters.

The police chief said that the Ottawa Police had no prior interaction with De-Zoysa.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said he was briefed on the situation by Stubbs around 5:30 a.m. Thursday.

“I was shocked and devastated. And especially knowing that there are children involved. That’s particularly heartbreaking,” Sutcliffe told Global News.

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Sri Lanka’s High Commission in Ottawa confirmed to Global News that the two adult victims are Sri Lankan nationals.

Click to play video: '‘Shock and horror’: Trudeau reacts to Ottawa homicide that left 6 dead'
‘Shock and horror’: Trudeau reacts to Ottawa homicide that left 6 dead

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the six deaths as a “terrible tragedy.”

“Our first reactions are all ones of shock and horror at this terrible violence,” he said at a news conference Thursday.

Officers were called to a home in the city’s west end around 11 p.m. Eastern Wednesday night. The victims’ identities have not yet been released and the Ottawa Police Service’s homicide unit is on scene investigating.

Residents of nearby homes on Berrigan Drive in Barrhaven where police made the gruesome discovery told Global News the neighbourhood is normally quiet and filled with families.

“[It’s] absolutely horrifying,” said Mayson LeBlanc who lives near the scene and saw officers with flashlights searching the area.
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Ahmad Sabaw was cycling with his son to school. Blood could be seen on the sidewalk along their route.

“This is unbelievable,” said Sabaw. “My kids are asking, ‘What’s going on, what’s happened, is it safe?'”

Map of the Ottawa area and where the homicides took place in Barrhaven. Global News

Officers said one person was taken into custody and that there is no threat to public safety.

“This is a tragic and complex investigation,” police said.

Property records list Harpreet Chhabra and Mandeep Saluja as the owners of the home since 2013.

Global News called Chhabra’s office. The woman who answered said Chhabra is away on vacation and was not inside the home Wednesday night.

Global News has also reached out to Mandeep Saluja and is waiting to hear back.

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Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe called it “one of the most shocking incidents of violence in our city’s history.”

“We are proud to live in a safe community but this news is distressing to all Ottawa residents,” Sutcliffe said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

Ontario MPP for the area Lisa MacLeod also expressed her shock on social media, posting on X “there are no words for the heartbreak me and my neighbours feel for the surviving family, friends & playmates of the deceased.”

Barrhaven resident Katie McNelly said she is “devastated” and added that calling it a “tragedy is an understatement.”

“It’s going to take a long time for the community to get over this,” she told Global News.

-With files from Gabby Rodrigues  and Jillian Piper

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