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

Nojoud Al Mallees, Canadian Press

Published Thursday, March 7, 2024 7:02 pm EST

OTTAWA – A family killed in a stabbing at an Ottawa home Wednesday night hosted 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 left “very shaken” on Thursday, Bhante Suneetha said.

The resident monk of the Hilda Jayewardenaramaya Buddhist monastery, which the family attended, said he visited his friend in the hospital.

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

“They (even) helped him celebrate,” he told The Canadian Press in an interview. “They had a celebration for 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 after a brutal attack.

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

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 lived with the family, has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

According to police, the victims and the suspect are Sri Lankan citizens.

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

De-Zoysa had recently moved into her basement while pursuing her studies in Ottawa. His 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 her father.

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

The resident monk said that, according to the father, he was returning home from a cleaning job on Wednesday night when De-Zoysa suddenly attacked him.

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

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

“The killer said ‘No, I didn’t do anything to them.’ And he let him go and went to the children, and they left.”

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

The monk said he met the family because they had attended his monastery regularly since arriving in Canada after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her seven-year-old son had even started religious classes there last week.

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

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