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Ottawa Community mourns victims of tragic crime in vigil: SL Community honours lives lost

March 10, Canada (LNW): Residents of the Ottawa area and members of the local Sri Lankan community came together in solemn remembrance on Saturday (09), offering flowers, gifts, and prayers at a vigil honoring the victims of a tragic crime, described as one of the worst mass killings in the city’s recent memory.

Gathered beneath rainy skies at Palmadeo Park in Barrhaven, mourners paid tribute to a young mother, her four children, and a family friend who tragically lost their lives on Wednesday night.

A 19-year-old Sri Lankan national, residing with the victims at the time, faces charges in connection with their deaths.

Among the attendees at the somber gathering were Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, Police Chief Eric Stubbs, and the Sri Lankan High Commissioner.

The ceremony included floral presentations and prayers, with Bhante Suneetha, a resident monk at the Hilda Jayewardenaramaya Buddhist Monastery, offering words of solace.

In the gazebo, a poignant display featured flowers, toys, notes, and candles, each bearing the names of the victims: Darshani Ekanayake (35), her son Inuka Wickramasinghe (7), daughters Ashwini (4) and Ranyana (3), infant Kelly (2.5 months), and family friend Ge Gamini Amarakoon (40).

Dhanushka Wickramasinghe, the children’s father and sole survivor, remains hospitalised, recovering from injuries allegedly sustained during a confrontation with the suspect, who resided with the family.

Community leaders at the vigil expressed the profound impact of the tragedy on the Sri Lankan diaspora, acknowledging the rarity of such events within their community.

Naradha Kodithuwakku, representing the Buddhist Congress of Canada, conveyed gratitude to first responders, officials, and organisations offering support to the family.

Kodithuwakku shared that Wickramasinghe, still in shock, finds strength in the solidarity shown by the community. Wickramasinghe has authorised the local temple to arrange a funeral following the completion of autopsies on the victims.

Anzul Jhan, deputy high commissioner at the Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa, indicated that family members from Sri Lanka are expected to attend the funeral, while arrangements are made to repatriate Amarakoon’s body to Sri Lanka at the request of his relatives.

Chandra Hapuarachchi, of the Buddhist Congress of Canada, expressed appreciation for the support extended beyond the Sri Lankan community, noting the widespread impact of the tragedy.

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