Authorities apprehended son of a Calgary veteran Police Officer, Matthew de Grood, after he brutally stabbed 5 people at a house party in Brentwood neighborhood, leaving citizens of the Calgary neighborhood devastated. Three of the victims were found dead inside the home and two died later at the hospital. Alberta’s Police Chief is calling the crime the “worst mass murder in Calgary’s history.” Because of the gravity of the case, and the suspect’s connection to the Calgary Police Department, Alberta justice has decided to bring a prosecutor in from outside the jurisdiction.
Matthew deGrood is a University of Calgary graduate who was accepted to University of Calgary law school for fall 2014. Family and friends of deGrood are at a loss for explanations, saying he was a guest of the party and nothing happened prior to the stabbing that would indicate a motive. About 20 students were gathered at a neighborhood home to celebrate the end of the school year, when deGrood attacked the five unsuspecting guests. Reports state that deGrood arrived at the party with a large weapon, but then obtained a knife from the house and targeted his victims stabbing them several times. DeGrood stabbed four men and a woman before fleeing the scene. Police K9 unit tracked deGrood down, and he was subsequently charged with 5 counts of first degree murder. DeGrood will undergo psychiatric evaluation before his trial.
The 5 victims have been identified, and Calgary citizens attended a candlelit vigil to mourn the loss of the young students. The stabbing has devastated the quiet Calgary neighborhood, and citizens report they did not hear any noise from the party or the attack. Victims Zackariah Rathwell and Josh Hunter were in a band together called Zackariah & The Prophets, and had recently released an EP. Josh’s co-workers describe him as friendly, and friends say he had “a personality that everyone was drawn to,” and that he loved performing with his band. Josh Hunter was a budding artist attending the Alberta College of Art and Design. Victim Jordan Segura was a Religious Studies major that had worked at a funeral home in Calgary for more than a year at the time of the stabbing. His employer describes him as, “a fine young man” saying, “[all the staff] loved to work with [him].” Victim Lawrence Hong was a 27-year-old Urban Studies student, described by The Calgary Herald as a “passionate volunteer, a stylish dresser, a foodie.” Hong had almost completed his university degree at the time of the slaying, and he was well known to Calgary’s gay community for his volunteer work. His friends remember him as someone who “was always willing to lend an ear to young people struggling with their identities.” 23 year-old Kaitlin Perras was the only female victim in the stabbing, and is remember by her peers as a passionate dancer who seemed destined to do great things. Childhood friends of Perras say she was “the kindest person.” The Calgary Herald reports that Perras, Zackariah Rathwell, Josh Hunter, and Jordon Segura were close friends in highschool. Naturally, family and friends of the victims have asked for privacy while they mourn the loss of the young victims.
It does not appear that Matthew deGrood was high or drunk prior to the attack and witnesses confirm he went to the party after leaving work. Citizens of Calgary are left devastated by the brutal stabbings while investigators still try to determine what motivated the attack.
Commentary By Sandra Pugliese