Calgary stabbings: Zackariah Rathwell's family breaks silence

The family of one of the five young people tragically killed in Calgary last week is speaking out.

Zackariah Rathwell, Joshua Hunter were bandmates in local band Zackariah and the Prophets

Zackariah Rathwell was a member of local Calgary band Zackariah and The Prophets. The band had just unveiled their debut EP at a recent CD release party in Calgary. (Facebook)

The family of one of the five young people tragically killed in Calgary last week is speaking out.

In a statement issued through Calgary police late Sunday afternoon, the family of 21-year-old Zackariah Rathwell spoke of their grief and the struggle to adjust to life without the young musician.

He, along with fellow victim Joshua Hunter, belonged to the local band Zackariah and the Prophets.

"It is a struggle every day to understand that Zackariah won't be coming home," the family wrote.

Funeral services for victims

  • 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. The family has established the Zackariah James Rathwell Trust Fund to establish a scholarship to help students pursue their dreams in the arts. Donations can be made at any RBC location.
  • Segura: A funeral will take place at 10 a.m. MT Monday at the McInnis and Holloway on Centre Street. A tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park in his memory.
  • Perras: A funeral will take place at 1 p.m. MT at First Alliance Church in southeast Calgary and attendees are encouraged to wear colourful attire. Her family has set up the Kaiti Perras Love of Dance Scholarship Fund at Counterpoint Dance Marda Loop. Donations can be made at any TD branch.
  • Hunter: A funeral will take place Monday at 2 p.m. MT at Christ Church in the southwest followed by a gathering at the Priddis Community Hall in Priddis, Alta.

"He was so close to so many and touched the lives of everyone he came into contact with.... No one should ever have to lose someone who was so young and full of so much potential."

The family also thanked the Calgary Police Service and Calgarians for their support, as well as Air Canada for getting Rathwell's brother home to be with the rest of the family.

They have extended a public invitation for those wishing to attend Rathwell's funeral on Tuesday. The funeral will be held at the Centre Street Church in northeast Calgary at 1:30 p.m. MT.

The coming week marks the beginning of a series of memorials and funerals for the five stabbing victims.

Kaitlin Perras, 23, Jordan Segura, 22, Lawrence Hong, 27, Joshua Hunter, 23, and Rathwell, 21, were stabbed to death Tuesday in the northwest Calgary community of Brentwood. 

Matthew de Grood, the son of a Calgary police inspector, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in their deaths.

Colleagues prepare funeral

Easter Sunday was a solemn occasion for family and friends of the victims, as visitation services were held for two of the five young adults fatally stabbed last week.

Services for Kaitlin Perras and Jordan Segura were held at separate McInnis and Holloway funeral homes in the city.

The visitation for Segura took place at the Centre Street facility where he had worked part time. 

For many of Segura's former coworkers, taking responsibility for his funeral and visitation services now is a huge challenge.

"He was also a very, very close friend to the majority of our staff," said Ernie Hagel, owner of the funeral home.

Jordan Segura is one of the five victims killed at a party celebrating the end of classes. (Facebook)

"Jordan was the type of individual who got along with everybody and everybody appreciated the extra effort he put in to help them with whatever it took.

"It makes it very difficult when we're doing somebody who we worked with and it's very sensitive."

A visitation for Joshua Hunter, 23, was held Saturday at Foster's Garden Chapel.

Matthew de Grood back in court Tuesday

It's alleged Matthew de Grood stabbed the five young adults before fleeing around 1:20 a.m. MT Tuesday from a low-key gathering to celebrate the end of university classes, of which he was invited to.

He was apprehended shortly after by the police K-9 unit and is being held in a secure psychiatric facility ahead of his next court appearance on Tuesday.

Matthew de Grood, the suspect in the killings of five people, graduated from the University of Calgary and was admitted to attend law school in the fall. (Facebook)

De Grood's lawyer, Allan Fay, says the Crown prosecutor may ask for a psychological assessment of the accused at that time.

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.

Police are currently investigating the text messages de Grood sent and received before the stabbings occurred. 

Police say he knew at least one person at the party that night — a family friend, known by the 22-year-old for a long time.

He arrived after leaving his shift at Safeway and police say he had brought "an instrument" with him from work but that the primary weapon was a large knife obtained from inside the home.

Investigators say neither de Grood or any of the victims had any history with police.

Family thanks Calgarians for support

The accused's father, Insp. Douglas de Grood, is a 33-year veteran of the Calgary police force.

"Just like you, we struggle to understand what happened," he told reporters Thursday.

Calgary police Insp. Doug de Grood, with his wife Susan at his side, fights back tears as he speaks publicly for the first time since his son, Matthew de Grood, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder. (CBC)

As a result, Crown prosecutors Neil Wilberg and Stephanie Brown have been brought in from Edmonton to handle the case.

Gregg Lepp with Crown Prosecutor Services says they are being brought in not because there would be a conflict, but so the public can have absolute confidence in the results of the case as it works its way through the courts.

Condolences have been pouring in for the five victims over the past week. 

On Saturday, the victims' families issued a statement thanking Calgarians for their support.

"We wish to extend our thanks to Calgarians and others who have expressed their condolences for our loss," they wrote. "We know you are grieving too and we truly appreciate the support."

The families say they have come together to support one another in this time of tremendous tragedy and grief but know healing will take time.

"We know the public and media are searching to understand how this could have happened, as are we," they wrote. "We also know that these answers will take time and nothing will come as quickly as we want or need."


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