• Sunday, April 21, 2024


Six Sri Lankans stabbed to death in Canada; 4 victims aged below 8

Police said the victims are “newcomers to Canada… originally from Sri Lanka.”

Ottawa Police Service officers speak to neighbours after four children and two adults were found dead inside a nearby home in the Ottawa suburb of Barrhaven, Ontario, Canada March 7, 2024. REUTERS/Blair Gable

By: Pramod Thomas

SIX people from Sri Lanka, including a mother and four children, were knifed to death in the Canadian capital Ottawa late on Wednesday (6), police said on Thursday (7), rocking a country where mass murders are rare.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau said he was horrified by what he called a “terrible tragedy.” The father of the family was also wounded in the attack and is in hospital.

Police said Febrio De-Zoysa, a 19-year-old male student from Sri Lanka, had been arrested and charged with six counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder. De-Zoysa knew the family and had been living in the house, they said.

The victims killed were a 35-year-old woman and her children aged 7, 4, 2 and 2 months, as well as a 40-year-old man who was an acquaintance of the family.

Police said they rushed to a home in the Ottawa suburb of Barrhaven after receiving a call at 11pm Wednesday (6) evening (0400 GMT Thursday).

At the scene, police discovered the bodies of four children, their 35-year-old mother and a 40-year-old man.

Their father, the woman’s husband, was found injured and taken to hospital, where police said he was in critical condition.

Authorities said that an “edged weapon” had been used to kill and injury the family members, who were described by Police Chief Eric Stubbs as “newcomers to Canada… originally from Sri Lanka.”

The suspect arrested Wednesday evening, also of Sri Lankan origin, was “an acquaintance of the family and was living in the house at the time,” Stubbs said at a press conference, without providing any further details of the links between them.

“This was a senseless act of violence perpetrated on purely innocent people,” he said, describing the “mass killing” as extremely rare or even unprecedented for Ottawa.

Ottawa’s mayor Mark Sutcliffe wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “I was devastated to learn of the multiple homicides in Barrhaven, one of the most shocking incidents of violence in our city’s history.

“We are proud to live in a safe community but this news is distressing to all Ottawa residents.”

Ottawa, which has a population of one million, saw 14 murders in 2023 and 15 in 2022.

Mass killings in Canada are infrequent. In December 2022, a man shot five people in a Toronto suburb before being gunned down by police.

In September that year, a man stabbed and killed 11 people in the western province of Saskatchewan. He died of a cocaine overdose shortly after being arrested.


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