Teen arrested after 4 children, 2 adults found dead at house in Canada: “Tragic and complex investigation”

Police in Ottawa said Thursday that a 19-year-old man has been arrested after the deaths of two adults and four children at a home in the southern part of the Canadian capital. “tragic and complex investigation.”

Febrio Dezoysa, 19, was charged with six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder, Ottawa police said in a statement Thursday. The suspect is a Sri Lankan national who is believed to be residing in Canada as a student.

Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs said Thursday that investigators have found an edged weapon allegedly used in the killings.

“To be clear, this was a mass murder, not a mass shooting,” Stubbs said.

Police have identified one of the adult victims as 35-year-old Darshani Banbaranayake Gama Walwwe Darshani Dilanthika Ekanyake. Her husband was also injured and is in stable condition in hospital.

The couple’s four children – ranging in age from 2 months to 7 years old – were also found dead, police said. Another man, Amarakoonmubiayansela Ge Gamini Amarakoon, 40, was also killed.

“I want to emphasize that this was a senseless act of violence committed against purely innocent people,” Stubbs said.

Police cars are parked at the scene of the murder of six people in Barrhaven, a suburb of the Canadian capital Ottawa, Thursday, March 7, 2024.

Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press via AP

The Sri Lankan High Commission in Ottawa said the victims were a family of Sri Lankan nationals. The high commission said it is liaising with relatives in the country’s capital, Colombo. When contacted by CBS News after the suspect was identified, the high commission said police are investigating the incident and have nothing to share with the media at this time.

Police were called to the house in the Barrhaven area on Wednesday evening around 11pm. A suspect was then quickly arrested, according to the police “no ongoing threat to public safety.”

Stubbs previously told local radio stations that police do not believe the deaths were the result of domestic or intimate partner violence, but that they are also still trying to determine the relationship between the suspect and the victims.

Stubbs said it was a “very tragic scene”.

Don Perera, a neighbor, said he met the family who lived in the house last fall at a Halloween party at the nearby Catholic elementary school. He said the father was from Sri Lanka.

Shanti Ramesh, who lives across the street, was alerted to a commotion late Wednesday. From her balcony she saw a man sitting in the driveway of the house and shouting before two police officers arrived and carried him away.

On Thursday morning, five marked police cars were parked on the street and in driveways near the house, which is a middle unit of a row of brick townhouses.

Several people in white overalls walked in and out of the house throughout the morning, as parents and children walked and cycled past on their way to a nearby primary school.

Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe called the incident “one of the most shocking incidents of violence in our city’s history.”

“I was devastated to hear of the multiple murder in Barrhaven, one of the most shocking incidents of violence in our city’s history,” Sutcliffe said in a speech. post on social media. “We are proud to live in a safe community, but this news is disturbing for all Ottawa residents.”

Investigators said they are looking for surveillance, doorbell or dashcam footage of residents, visitors and businesses who may have been in the area at the time of the incident.

The murder investigation comes just weeks after a man was arrested in Canada after the bodies of three children and two wives were found dead in various locations.

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