Monk Says Killer Had No Issues With Family Before Stabbing

By Charlie Senack

The man arrested after Ottawa’s worst massacre ever reportedly dropped out of college and had thoughts of suicide, says an Ottawa monk who knew the Barrhaven family.

In an interview with the Canadian Press, Bhante Suneetha said he visited with the surviving father in hospital Thursday afternoon, just hours after the incident occurred.

Dhanushka Wickramasinghe was taken to hospital in stable condition, but his family wasn’t so lucky.

On Wednesday night, six bodies were found. They included: wife and mother Darshani Ekanyake, 35, their seven-year-old son, Inuka Wickramasinghe, and three daughters: Ashwini, 4, Rinyana, 2, and Kelly, aged two-and-a-half months. Forty-year-old Amarakoonmubiayansela Ge Gemini Amarakoon, an acquaintance of the family, was also stabbed to death.

Ottawa Police have charged 19-year-old Febrio De-Zoysa, for the alleged murders.

The local monk said De-Zoysa moved into the family’s basement a month or two ago. All seemed normal and they threw a birthday party for the Sri Lankan native just days before the killing spree. Balloons were seen in the Berrigan Drive home’s backyard as police searched the property.

Algonquin College has confirmed that De-Zoysa was an international student in one of their programs. He was last enrolled during the winter 2023 semester.

In a statement, Claude Brulé, the president of Algonquin College, said they were mourning alongside the community.

“This news is shocking to us all, and is a tragic loss to our city and community,” Brulé wrote. “Let us honour the memory of the two adults and four children who lost their lives, as well as share our deepest sympathies to the surviving family, friends, and loved ones.”

Piecing the Puzzle Together

Ottawa Police are continuing to remain tight-lipped about what happened inside the cookie-cutter townhouse on Berrigan Drive, saying they are still piecing together what happened. But the Canadian Press has reported the father came home from a cleaning job when the incident occurred.

It’s unclear if his family were already killed by that point or not. Suneetha said Wickramasinghe resisted and asked if his wife and children were hurt, to which the accused killer allegedly said ‘no’.

Police did confirm the father could be heard screaming outside for help, which was corroborated by neighbours who said they heard chanting just before 11:00 p.m. that night. Splatters of blood could be seen on the door of the neighbouring home and surrounding sidewalk. It was cleared by City of Ottawa crews Thursday evening. 

While Ottawa Paramedics have not given an update on Wickramasinghe’s condition, the spiritual leader said he had two fingers cut off — one that was repaired. The father also allegedly received stab wounds to the chest and back, and has a slash between his nose and eyes.

The family moved to Canada from Sri Lanka for a better, more prosperous life during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two of the children were enrolled in nearby Monsignor Paul Baxter Elementary School, and one of the kids began religious classes only a week ago. It was your typical suburban life.

De-Zoysa had a brief court appearance and will be back in the courtroom next week. He’s been ordered not to communicate with five individuals including the father and some other witnesses. He faces six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

On the Barrhaven Bulletin Board & Community Watch Facebook page, nearby residents shared their disbelief.

“I feel like we lost a family member, as I feel our community is part of our family,” wrote Cindy Munoz. “We are not safe anymore in the world.”

“This was so heartbreaking to wake up to. Cherish the day and your loved ones while you can. There is so much sickness out there,” echoed Sarah Drummond.  “I’m a couple minutes away. I was sitting here last night unknowing. I wish I could have done something, particularly for those kids. All I could do was give mine extra cuddles this morning and tell him how lucky I am to be his mom.”

A growing vigil has been started at nearby Palmadeo Park. Children hugged their parents and cried as they mourned the loss of their friends and classmates. One could be heard saying “why did this have to happen?” Another said it doesn’t make sense. Nobody has the answers.

(Featured Image – Febrio De-Zoysa, a foreign student from Sri Lanka who came to Ottawa to go to Algonquin College, was arrested by Ottawa Police after six people, including four small children, were found dead.)