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As Ottawa reels over multiple homicide, a look at recent mass killings across Canada

Ottawa is reeling after police said six people, including four children, were found dead Wednesday evening in a townhouse in the south-end Barrhaven suburb. 

Here’s a look at recent examples of mass killings in Canada:

March 6, 2024: Six people were killed at an Ottawa townhouse, including Darshani Banbaranayake Gama Walwwe Darshani Dilanthika Ekanyake, 35; her four children Inuka, seven, Ashwini, four, Rinyana, two, and Kelly, two months; and a 40-year-old man, Amarakoonmubiayansela Ge Gamini Amarakoon. The woman’s husband was brought to hospital with injuries. The couple were from Sri Lanka. A 19-year-old man, Febrio De-Zoysa, was arrested Thursday and charged with six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He is a Sri Lankan national believed to be in Canada as a student.

March 16, 2023: Seven people died in a Montreal fire in a heritage building. After several months, police announced that their probe had turned into a criminal investigation because traces of accelerant were found at the site. As of January, no charges had been laid in the case. People killed in the fire include Camille Maheux, 76; An Wu, 31; Dania Zafar, 31; Saniya Khan, 31; Charlie Lacroix, 18; Nathan Sears, 35; and Walid Belkahla, 18.

March 13, 2023: A man drove a truck into several groups of pedestrians in the town of Amqui, Que., about 350 kilometres northeast of Quebec City, killing three people. Steeve Gagnon turned himself in and was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and nine counts of attempted murder. The attack claimed the lives of 65-year-old Gérald Charest, 73-year-old Jean Lafrenière and 41-year-old Simon-Guillaume Bourget.

Oct. 24, 2023: Bobbie Hallaert killed four people in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., including three of his own children, before turning the gun on himself. Police characterized the shootings as a case of intimate partner violence. They said the shooter broke into one home and killed a woman before heading to a second home, killing three children and shooting another woman, who survived. Family members identified one of the victims as 41-year-old Angie Sweeney.

Nov. 26, 2023: A shooting claimed the lives of four people at a multi-unit house in Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighborhood. Police said a man and a woman were pronounced dead at the scene, and another man and woman died later in hospital. Jamie Randy Felix was charged in the case in December. Police named those killed as Crystal Beardy, 34; her sister Stephanie Beardy, 33; Melelek Lesikel, 29; and Dylan Lavallee, 41.

Dec. 18, 2022: A gunman opened fire at a condo building in Vaughan, Ont., killing five people and seriously injuring another. Police said Francesco Villi, who was involved in a lengthy dispute with his condo board, killed three board members and two of their partners before he was shot dead by police. Victims included Rita Camilleri, Vittorio Panza, Naveed Dada, Russell Manock and Lorraine Manock. 

Aug. 2, 2022: In Montreal, Abdulla Shaikh killed three people randomly over a 24-hour period in the Montreal area — André Lemieux, 64, Mohamed Belhaj, 48, and Alex Lévis Crevier, 22. The killer died in an exchange of gunfire with police at a Montreal motel. 

Sept. 4, 2022: In Saskatchewan, 11 people were killed and another 17 were injured in a stabbing spree in James Smith Cree Nation and the nearby community of Weldon, after killer Myles Sanderson went from home to home, kicking in doors and attacking people. An inquest found last month that Sanderson died of a cocaine overdose shortly after entering police custody. Bonnie Burns, Gregory Burns, Earl Burns, Lydia Gloria Burns, Carol Burns, Thomas Burns, Lana Head, Christian Head, Wesley Patterson and the killer’s brother Robert Sanderson died in the attacks.

June 6, 2021: A pickup truck was used to strike a Pakistani Muslim family at an intersection in London, Ont. Salman Afzaal and Madiha Salman were killed, along with their daughter Yumnah and her grandmother Talat. Their nine-year-old son was seriously injured. Self-described white nationalist Nathaniel Veltman was found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. A court found last month it was an act of terrorism.

April 19, 2020: A man who at one point wore a police uniform and drove a car painted to look like a police cruiser killed 16 people, including an RCMP officer, in a shooting rampage across northern Nova Scotia. Police said the shooter, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, was killed after being intercepted by officers in Enfield, N.S. Victims included Joy Bond, Peter Bond, Gina Goulet, Elizabeth Joanna Thomas, John Joseph Zahl, Corrie Ellison, Dawn Madsen, Frank Gulenchyn, Aaron Tuck, Jolene Oliver, Emily Tuck, Sean McLeod, Alanna Jenkins, Tom Bagley, Lisa McCully, Const. Heidi Stevenson, Heather O’Brien, Kristen Beaton, Greg Blair, Jamie Blair, Joey Webber and Lillian Campbell Hyslop. 

July 27, 2019: Four people were killed at their home in Markham, Ont. Menhaz Zaman pleaded guilty in 2020 to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder for killing his parents, grandmother and sister. Police found the bodies of 70-year-old Firoza Begum, 59-year-old Moniruz Zaman, 50-year-old Momtaz Begum, and 21-year-old Malesa Zaman in their home.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 7, 2023. 

The Canadian Press


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