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Ottawa honours the six victims of Barrhaven’s mass killing

The entire community in Ottawa honoured the six victims of the city’s biggest murder in its recent history Sunday afternoon through a public funeral service. 

The multi-faith service took place at the Infinity Convention Center at 2901 Gibford Dr. from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m..

The service was attended by community representatives, including Ottawa’s Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Gary Anandasangaree, principal of the Monsignor Paul Baxter School Vincenza Nicoletti, religious leaders from various faiths and other community leaders.

About 500 people were in attendance, including the surviving father.

“Your city is here with you. We will love and support you in the days ahead,” said Sutcliffe.

“I want to express gratitude to the first responders that arrived on the scene. No amount of training could ever prepare a first responder a police officer or paramedics. Our community is deeply grateful to you”

Meanwhile, Nicoletti remembered the murdered children, noting how proud their parents were.

“Four-year-old Ashwini Wickramasinghe — when she started school in September, she was quiet and shy. It was amazing to see Ashwini become more talkative throughout the year,” Nicoletti said.

“She loved to play at the doll centre. Was always so proud to show what she had created at the art table.”

Though the surviving father of the attack —  Dhanushka Wickramasinghe — attended the service, he was not available for interviews.

The Buddhist Congress of Canada told CTV News Ottawa’s Katie Griffin “a statement from Mr. Wickramasinghe will be released to the media at the conclusion of the funeral service.”

Six books of condolences were available for people to sign. Teddy bears and cards have been taken to the temple where the surviving father worships.

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

The victims have been identified as 35-year-old Banbaranayake Gama Walwwe Darshani Dilanthika Ekanyake and her four children: seven-year-old Inuka Wickramasinghe, four-year-old Ashwini Wickramasinghe, three-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. He had a wife and two children living in Sri Lanka.

The family had moved to Canada in recent months with three of their children — the two-and-a-half month old infant was born in Canada.

Meanwhile, the suspect accused in the mass killing who was living rent free with the family — Febrio De-Zoysa, 19 — made a brief appearance in an Ottawa courtroom Thursday afternoon.

He appeared by phone before a date was set for his next court appearance on March 28.

His lawyer told CTV News Ottawa he is currently in protective custody.

De-Zoysa is facing six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

With files from the Canadian Press and CTV News Ottawa’s Katie Griffin

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