Calgary stabbings: victims' families come together to heal
Families ask for privacy ahead of visitations, funerals
The families of the five young people killed this week in a stabbing in Calgary say they have come together in their healing.
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In a statement released by Calgary police, the families of Kaitlin Perras, 23, Joshua Hunter, 23, Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Jordan Segura, 22, and Lawrence Hong, 27, asked for privacy and said they are trying to help each other come to terms with what has happened to their loved ones.
It's alleged Matthew de Grood, the son of Calgary police Insp. Douglas de Grood, stabbed the five young adults in Brentwood around 1:20 a.m. MT Tuesday before fleeing.
He was apprehended shortly after by police and has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
"In this time of tremendous grief and tragedy, our five families have come together as one," the statement reads. "As a group, we have come together to support one another and in time, start the healing process. First, we must say goodbye to our loves ones."
Visitations and funerals for the five victims stabbed to death at a low-key gathering to mark the end of university classes in northwest Calgary begin Saturday and will continue through the coming week.
Here are the funeral services and other information announced so far:
- Hong: A funeral will be held Wednesday, April 23, at the Centre Street Church in northeast Calgary at 1:30 p.m. MT.
- Rathwell: A funeral will be held Tuesday, April 22, at the Centre Street Church in northeast Calgary at 1:30 p.m. MT. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to the Zackariah James Rathwell Trust Fund at any RBC location. The fund will be used to establish a scholarship to help other students pursue their dreams in the arts. Condolences can be expressed on the website of the Mountain View Memorial Funeral Home.
- Segura: A public visitation will be held Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. MT at McInnis & Holloway on Centre Street. His funeral will take place at 10 a.m. MT Monday at the same location. Condolences may be forwarded through the funeral home's website. A tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park in Segura's memory.
- Perras: A public visitation will be held Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. MT at McInnis & Holloway's Park Memorial Chapel. Her funeral will take place on Monday at 1 p.m. MT at First Alliance Church in southeast Calgary, and attendees are encouraged to wear colourful attire. Her family has also set up a memorial scholarship in her name at Counterpoint Dance Marda Loop. They ask that in lieu of flowers, anyone wishing to donate money to the scholarship fund do so at any TD branch by referencing the Kaiti Perras Love of Dance Scholarship Fund.
- Hunter: A public visitation will be held at Foster's Garden Chapel on Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. MT. His funeral will take place Monday at 2 p.m. MT at Christ Church in Calgary's southwest followed by a gathering at the Priddis Community Hall in Priddis, Alta. Expressions of sympathy may be forwarded to the family via the Foster's Garden Chapel website.
Families thank Calgarians for support
The families of the victims also said in their statement more information will be released in the coming days about the various funds, bursaries and scholarships being set up.
While they ask for privacy ahead of the services in the coming days, the families said they are grateful for the support of Calgarians.
"We wish to extend our thanks to Calgarians and others who have expressed their condolences for our loss. We know you are grieving too and we truly appreciate the support."
De Grood is currently being held at a secure psychiatric facility. While a court-ordered psychological assessment has not taken place yet, de Grood's lawyer Allan Fay believes Crown prosecutors may request one on Tuesday when he appears in court.
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Police are investigating the text messages de Grood sent and received before the stabbings occurred.
There have been reports that de Grood's mother had called police before the stabbings happened early Tuesday morning after receiving some worrying text messages, but Fay could not confirm that information.
Suspect was invited guest at party
According to police, de Grood knew at least one person at the party that night — a family friend, known by the 22-year-old for a long time.
Police say he had a weapon, which police referred to as "an instrument" he brought with him after leaving his shift at Safeway, but investigators believe the primary weapon was a large knife obtained from inside the home.
"There's still lots of questions," said Calgary police Chief Rick Hanson. "The question is always going to be why? Why did this happen?"
Investigators say de Grood was an invited guest at the party and neither he nor any of the victims had any history with police.
Due to the suspect's father's position with the police service — a 33-year veteran who has held leadership positions — Crown prosecutors have been brought in from Edmonton to handle the case.
Neil Wilberg and Stephanie Brown have been named as the two prosecutors assigned to the case. Gregg Lepp of Crown Prosecutor Services says that is to ensure impartiality.
"Not that there would be a conflict, but just so the public has absolutely confidence that there's no personal stake in this whatsoever," he said.