April 22nd, 2024

‘This tragedy has shaken me’: Ottawa father of slain family thanks public for support

By The Canadian Press on March 18, 2024.

Dhanushka Wickramasinghe, the father and husband of the victims, leaves the funeral service for the victims of a mass stabbing that killed a mother, her four young children and a family friend, in Ottawa on Sunday, March 17, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle

OTTAWA – The surviving father of an attack that Ottawa’s mayor has called one of the city’s worst cases of mass violence is thanking the public for its support.

Dhanushka Wickramasinghe released his first public statement though police after hundreds gathered at a convention centre Sunday to mourn his family.

Police found his 35-year-old wife Dharshini Ekanyake, their four children and a family friend dead inside their Barrhaven townhouse on March 6.

The father, who was taken to hospital that night with serious injuries, says he is “devastated and torn by the loss of my beloved wife” and his children – his “beautiful angels” – who ranged in age from two months old to seven years old.

Wickramasinghe says he is mourning the life of “my dear friend Gamini,” who police say was staying with the family.

He is thanking first responders and hospital staff for helping him “navigate through the initial shock and chaos” that ensued following the tragedy.

The Sri Lankan man also said in the Monday statement that he’s thankful for the support of the Buddhist Congress of Canada, Ottawa’s Sri Lankan community and the wider public “for their thoughts and prayers.”

A 19-year-old international student who was also living with the family at the time of their deaths has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Febrio De-Zoysa’s lawyer said last week that the young man’s family is devastated by the allegations and that due to their serious nature, he’s being held in protective custody.

He is due in court on March 28.

Police have not publicly identified a motive for the alleged crimes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2024.

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