Calgary police Insp. Douglas de Grood, the father of stabbing suspect Matthew de Grood, fought back tears as he spoke about how shocked and devastated he and his wife are. 

"We are deeply saddened for what the families and friends of the victims are going through," he said.

"Your lives have been turned upside down. We know words cannot ease your pain and suffering. Please accept our deepest condolences and know you are in our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers."

Matthew de Grood has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Lawrence Hong, 27, Joshua Hunter, 23, Kaitlin Perras, 23, Zackariah Rathwell, 21, and ​Jordan Segura, 22. 

Matthew and Doug de Grood

Veteran Calgary police Insp. Douglas de Grood spoke this afternoon about his son, Matthew de Grood, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of five university-aged people. (CBC)

"Like any parent can tell you, a love for your child is unconditional, and we love Matthew dearly," said de Grood, reading from a prepared statement. 

"Our Matthew is a great kid, full of love, kindness and respect for others." 

De Grood said he and his wife, Susan, hope to see their son soon.

"Just like you, we struggle to understand what happened," said de Grood. 

"We have received an outpouring of support from our extended family, friends and co-workers and even people we've never met. We thank each one of you for your support."

De Grood is a 33-year veteran of the Calgary Police Service who has held leadership positions within the force. He is still on active duty.

The de Groods also have an older daughter named Nicole. 

Full statement 

I am Douglas de Grood, and I am an inspector with the Calgary Police Service.

But I’m here today not as a police officer but as a parent and a husband. I speak for my wife, Susan de Grood, as we are one voice.

We are shocked and devastated, and we are trying to make sense of what happened.

We are deeply saddened for what the families and friends of the victims are going through. Your lives have been turned upside down. We know words cannot begin to ease your pain and suffering. Please accept our deepest condolences and know you are in our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers.

Our condolences also go out to the first responders who attended the scene. You had to detach from your emotions to do your job. Your professionalism was exceptional.

Like any parent can tell you, a love for your child is unconditional, and we love Matthew dearly.

Our Matthew is a great kid, full of love, kindness and respect for others. Growing up he received good grades in school and was active in a variety of sports.

As a young adult, he got a part-time job, entered university and became more involved in the community. He raised funds for charities through his passion for running.

He had a bright future ahead of him as he was about to start law school in the fall.

Just like you, we struggle to understand what happened.

We have received an outpouring of support from our extended families, our friends and neighbours, co-workers and even people we’ve never met.

We thank each one of you for your support.

We will never recover from this, but the collective support has helped ease some of the pain. We hope someday we will have answers as to why this happened.

Regardless, it won’t bring the victims back, but we would give anything to do just that.

Our final words are to you, the media. We ask that you respect our family’s privacy as we deal with this tragedy. Thank you for your co-operation.  

Not under suicide watch, says lawyer

Defence lawyer Allan Fay said the family has asked the media to respect their privacy during this difficult time.

"Give them the time and space they need to deal with this terrible tragedy," he told reporters Thursday afternoon after the family made their statement.

Matthew de Grood is now being held in a secure psychiatric facility.

Fay once again reiterated that he is not aware of any mental health concerns with his client and said he has not been placed under suicide watch.

He said there has not been a court-ordered psychological assessment yet, but he understands the Crown prosecutor may request one at Matthew de Grood's next appearance on Tuesday.

There have been reports in the media that the suspect's mother had called police before the stabbings happened early Tuesday morning after receiving some worrying text messages, but Fay said he could not confirm that information.

"There have been a lot of reports in the media that the family doesn't necessarily agree with," he said.

Due to the suspect's father's position with the police force, Crown prosecutors will be brought in from Edmonton to handle the case. 

Gregg Lepp of Crown Prosecutor Services says that is to ensure impartiality.

"We would do the same thing if it were the son or daughter or relative of a prosecutor or a judge or a well-known defence lawyer — things of that sort," he said. 

"So that's why. Not that there would be a conflict, but just so the public has absolute confidence that there's no personal stake in this whatsoever."

Neil Wiberg and Stephanie Brown have been named as the two prosecutors assigned to the case.