Calgary stabbing victims remembered at 3 funerals
Jordan Segura, Kaitlin Perras and Joshua Hunter laid to rest Monday
Hundreds of people gathered at several churches and funeral homes in Calgary Monday to say goodbye to three of the five young adults fatally stabbed at a house party in the city's northwest last week.
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Roughly 400 people packed into a funeral home on Centre Street North to say goodbye to Jordan Segura, 22.
A friend of Segura's who was at the house party reassured mourners that the university student wasn't alone when he died. Jayda Shreenan said Segura was surrounded by those who loved him as he took his last breath.
"Myself and a couple of friends were with him right at the end, and I want you all to know that Jordan was not alone," said Shreenan, choking back tears.
Shreenan said Segura had a smile that lit up the room.
"[It] was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It was so wide and so bright, and when you saw it, you couldn't help but smile back," she said.
A man of integrity, says brother
The 10 a.m. MT service was held at the funeral home where Segura worked part time. His favourite Ska music was played before the service, which opened with k.d. lang's rendition of the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah.
Segura, who was a religious studies major at the University of Calgary, was remembered for his wit, his kindness and his infectious smile.
Jullien Segura praised his brother as a man of integrity.
"He would speak his truth even though it might create conflict or tension," he said. "He would make choices based on what he believed, not what others believed."
Pastor Wes Gorman tried to help the mourners make sense of Segura's death.
"His death was tragic and violent and awful and should never have happened" he said.
"But the question we have to ask is, what do we learn from his 22 years that were lived with purpose and lived so meaningfully?"
'This is the worst week of our lives'
Friends and family of Kaitlin Perras gathered at the First Alliance Church in southeast Calgary to mourn her passing.
"This is the worst week of our lives," said her uncle, Galen Perras. "Devastation does not begin to describe it. We are overwhelmed."
He called the 23-year-old "loving, spiritual, intelligent, artistic, fiercely loyal, caring [and] gorgeous inside and out."
Perras, also known as Kaiti, was a dancer, and her love for the art was displayed through a photo montage of some of her performances. Many of her friends from the dance community spoke at the funeral.
"Don't focus on how she was taken away from us. Remember her as she was and do her memory justice," said roommate and best friend Kristy Berg. "Live your life with love and joy, find what makes you happy and pursue it because that's what Kaiti did."
In lieu of sending flowers, her family has asked for donations to the Love of Dance Scholarship Fund established in her name at Counterpoint Dance Marda Loop. Donations can be made at any TD branch.
'Josh lived fully'
Mourners also attended a separate service for 23-year-old Joshua Hunter.
Hunter's friend Peter Gammell gave a eulogy at the funeral held at the Christ Church in the city's southwest.
"Josh lived fully, more fully than many who live long lives," he said. "Josh would want us to view his ending as a starting point for us to live more fully."
Gammell said the word waste should never be associated with his friend's life.
"[It was] anything but a waste, even in its conclusion," he said. "Josh had moral standards. They were the kind that were quietly demonstrated. He'd hang with little children as if they were old friends. If he was going to the movies with his buddies, he wouldn't hesitate to include his parents if they were around."
"Who does that?" he said, garnering laughter from the pews.
More funerals planned
A funeral will be held Tuesday for ZackariahRathwell, 21, and on Wednesday for the fifth victim, 27-year-old Lawrence Hong.
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It's alleged Matthew de Grood, the son of Calgary police Insp. Douglas de Grood, stabbed the five young adults at an end of university classes gathering around 1:20 a.m. MT last Tuesday before fleeing. Police say he had been invited to the party in the northwest community of Brentwood.
He was apprehended shortly after by police with help from the K-9 unit. De Grood has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
He is scheduled to make a court appearance in Calgary Tuesday and is currently being held in a secure psychiatric facility.
De Grood's lawyer, Allan Fay, has said he is not aware of any mental-health concerns with his client, and that de Grood has not been placed on suicide watch.
A court-ordered psychological assessment has not yet taken place, but Fay said he understands the Crown prosecutor may request one at de Grood's court appearance on Tuesday.
With files from The Canadian Press