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Suspect accused of Ottawa’s mass murder appears in court Thursday

The suspect accused of murdering six people at an Ottawa home is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

Febrio De-Zoysa, 19, is charged with six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

A mother, her four children and a family acquaintance were killed inside a two-storey townhouse on Berrigan Drive in the Ottawa suburb of Barrhaven on March 6, according to police.

The Wickramasinghe family is pictured here in this undated image. The four young children and their mother were killed in their Ottawa home on March 6, 2024 alongside a family friend. The father was seriously injured in the attack. A 19-year-old suspect is in custody and is facing multiple counts of first-degree murder.

De-Zoysa made a brief court appearance by phone on March 14. He has been ordered not to have contact with five people, including the surviving husband and father.

His lawyer says he is currently in protective custody.

“I have been in touch with his family. They’re obviously very upset,” Ewan Lyttle told reporters outside the courthouse on Elgin Street. “I can comment that he’s in protective custody. He’s doing okay.”

Lyttle wouldn’t comment on whether he would be seeking a mental health assessment, saying the review of disclosure is “probably a few months from now.”

De-Zoysa is a Sri Lankan national who is believed to be in Canada as a student. A spokesperson for Algonquin College told CTV News Ottawa he last attended classes there in the winter of 2023.

Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs says he was an acquaintance of the family, and was living in the home.

The victims, all Sri Lankan nationals who were new to Canada, 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.

Flowers sit at the scene of a homicide where six people were found dead in the Barrhaven suburb of Ottawa on Thursday, March 7, 2024. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

A sixth man, 40-year-old Gamini Amarakoon Amarakoon Mudiyanselage, was also found deceased at the home.

The husband and father, Dhanushka Wickramasinghe, was taken to hospital in serious condition, but his condition was considered stable. He was able to attend the public funeral that was held in Ottawa to honour the victims.

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s William Eltherington and Katie Griffin

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