‘An absolutely heartbreaking story’: community members react

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Politicians, residents and community groups have taken to social media to express their condolences following multiple homicides in Barrhaven on Wednesday night.

Six people, including four children, were found dead Wednesday night in a home on Berrigan Drive, the Ottawa Police Service confirmed Thursday.

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The victims were a family of recent arrivals to Ottawa and an acquaintance, originally from Sri Lanka, Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs said at an afternoon news conference. He said police had been working to alert his relatives abroad.

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The victims are:

  • Darshani Banbaranayake Gama Walwwe Darshani Dilanthika Ekanyake, 35-year-old wife and mother.
  • Inuka Wickramasinghe, seven-year-old son.
  • Ashwini Wickramasinghe, four-year-old daughter.
  • Rinyana Wickramasinghe, two-year-old daughter.
  • Kelly Wickramasinghe, two-month-old daughter.
  • Amarakoonmubiayansela Ge Gamini Amarakoon, 40-year-old family acquaintance.

The father and husband of the family was found injured at the scene. He remained in hospital in serious but stable condition as of mid-afternoon Thursday.

Nineteen-year-old Febrio De-Zoysa has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He is from Sri Lanka and is believed to be in Canada as a student, Stubbs said, adding that he is the only suspect.

Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said the xformerly known as Twitter, on Thursday morning he was “devastated” to learn of the multiple homicides, stating that it marked “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 concerning for all Ottawa residents,” Sutcliffe said. “Ginny and I are thinking about the victims’ families and neighbors. Thank you to our first responders who are investigating and supporting those affected by this terrible event.”

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Barrhaven East Ward 24 Councilor Wilson Lo said in a post that he was “saddened and sorry” to hear the news, adding that his “heart and mind” went out to the victims’ loved ones and neighbors.

Other city representatives expressed their condolences on social media.

Orleans East-Cumberland District 1 Councilman Matthew Luloff said the loss of “innocent lives” was “senseless and difficult to bear.”

“My heart aches for everyone affected by this incomprehensible crime,” Luloff said in a Facebook post, asking the public to refrain from speculation as the police investigation continues. “My thoughts are with all those affected and may the victims rest in peace.”

Ward 14 Somerset Councilman Ariel Troster also shared his thoughts on social media, encouraging the public to access resources and crisis lines if they were having trouble processing the incident.

“Like many of you, I am reeling from the horrible news from Barrhaven this morning,” Troster said on Facebook. “Sending love and care to this family and their neighbors and friends.”

The Ottawa Youth Services Office shared on social media how to access its crisis line and crisis chat, stating that it was “deeply saddened” by the tragic event.

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“This devastating news has moved us all and our hearts go out to anyone affected by this tragedy,” the youth organization said in x. “During this difficult time, it is important to remember that you are not alone.”

Ottawa Public Health also shared a list of community resources on its social media pages.

“This news is difficult to see and you are likely to be affected, perhaps even more than you expect,” the health department said. “Make sure you check on each other. Ask someone how they are. It will matter.”

Ottawa Catholic School Board published in x that he wanted to express his “deep pain” for the “tragic events” that occurred in the Barrhaven community.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected,” the post said. “As a Board, we will provide our students and staff with any assistance or support needed during this difficult time.”

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) also provided public comment, noting that additional resources from its mental health team had been deployed to support area schools.

“We would like to express our deepest condolences to everyone who may be affected by the tragic events in Barrhaven,” the OCDSB said on x, adding that staff would be “very sensitive” to students’ needs at this time, and urged parents and children to contact their school if they needed support. “This incident will deeply affect many in our community.”

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented on the incident when speaking to reporters after making an announcement on pharmaceutical care in Toronto on Thursday.

“Obviously our first reactions are shock and horror at this terrible violence,” Trudeau said. “We hope that the community will come forward to support family and friends as Canadians always do and we hope that law enforcement will do the job and keep us all informed about this terrible tragedy.”

The leader of Canada’s Official Opposition, Pierre Poilievre, said the x On Thursday afternoon he said he was “heartbroken” by the “horrible news” from Barrhaven.

“My thoughts are with the loved ones of the victims and with the entire community mourning this tragic loss,” Poilievre said.

Provincial politicians also reflected on the killings, with Orleans Member of Provincial Parliament Stephen Blais calling for a moment of silence at the Ontario Legislature on Thursday morning.

“I am shocked and deeply saddened to read about this monstrous crime in our community,” Blais said on Facebook. “My heart goes out to the family and the first responders who discovered this horror.”

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Premier Doug Ford said in x that the news was “heartbreaking.”

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of the six victims and with the entire Ottawa community recovering from this terrible tragedy,” the prime minister said.

Lisa MacLeod, Member of Ontario Provincial Parliament for Nepean, said in a post on x that his community had “woken up to shock, pain and tragedy.”

“There are no words for the anguish my neighbors and I feel for the deceased’s surviving family, friends (and) playmates,” MacLeod said, noting that he had already spoken with the Ontario Attorney General and the police chief. from Ottawa. “May the memories of him be a blessing and may justice be done.”

Ontario Liberal Party Leader Bonnie Crombie said the x that she “can’t even begin to imagine what the community is going through.”

“An absolutely heartbreaking story,” Crombie said. “My thoughts are with the community of Barrhaven and the city of Ottawa, as well as the families of the victims and all those affected.”

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