A 7-year-old boy learned this week that his mom — among the 10 people killed by the Toronto van killer — wouldn’t be coming home ever again
Renuka Amarasingha, a single mother, was on her way home from her first day on the job as a cafeteria worker at Earl Haig Secondary School when Alek Minassian allegedly drove up on a sidewalk in a rented white van, mowing down crowds.
“The child started crying” when he was told Tuesday that he wouldn’t see his mom again, said family friend Anoshan Ahangama. “He is just a little boy — so he doesn’t know how to process, or really how he should react.
“But he knows that his mother is gone … He knows.”
Amarasingha, 46, had just returned from a trip to Sri Lanka with her son, Diyon, to visit family, friends said.
“As a person, she would go out of her way to help people — her whole life was her son — and helping others,” the mom’s friend, Uthpala Ahangama, told the Vancouver Sun.
Amarasingha’s landlord and his family are now caring for the boy, Ahangama said. But, after splitting from her ex-husband, Amarasingha made arrangements for a family in the US to care for Diyon in the event something happened to her.
The mother and son were members of the Toronto Maha Vihara Buddhist Meditation Center, where Diyon goes to Sunday school. Members of the congregation set up a GoFundMe for Diyon’s future, which had raised $184,578 as of Thursday morning.
Other known victims of Monday’s attack include Dorothy Sewell, a grandmother and avid sports fan; Munir Najjar, a Jordanian man visiting his son; “concept chef” Chul Min “Eddie” Kang, and Anne-Marie D’Amico, who was remembered for her volunteer work.
Toronto police Sgt. Graham Gibson said Tuesday that 25-year-old Minassian’s victims were “predominantly female,” though investigators aren’t sure if he intentionally targeted women.
He has been charged with 10 counts of murder and his next hearing is scheduled for May 10.
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