'We are devastated': Father of Calgary stabbing suspect speaks out
Published Thursday, April 17, 2014 2:36PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 17, 2014 10:12PM EDT
The father of a man charged with fatally stabbing five young people in Calgary says he's struggling to make sense of the tragedy.
Insp. Doug de Grood, the father of 22-year-old Matthew de Grood, held back tears Thursday as he delivered an emotional statement outside a lawyer’s office alongside his wife.
The veteran Calgary police officer offered his condolences to the families of the victims.
"We hope someday we will have some answers as to why this happened," he told reporters in Calgary. "Regardless it won't bring the victims back, but we would give anything to do just that."
Doug de Grood described his son as a "great kid" who was full of "love, kindness and respect for others."
He said Matthew excelled in school and sports, and was involved in his community.
"He had a bright future ahead of him," Doug de Grood said, noting that his son had recently been accepted into law school.
"We are shocked and devastated and we are trying to make sense of what happened," he said. "We are deeply saddened for what the family and friends of victims are going through. Their lives have been turned upside down. We know words cannot begin to ease your pain and suffering."
He said he's thankful for the "outpouring of support" the family has received.
"We will never recover from this, but the collective support has helped ease some of the pain," he said.
Matthew de Grood's lawyer, Allan Fay, said he met with his client on Wednesday.
"He appeared distraught, he appeared upset, he appeared fearful," Fay said. "All those things one would expect under those circumstances."
Suspect was 'welcome guest' at party: police
Calgary police said Thursday that de Grood’s activities leading up to the stabbing deaths of five young people form a “significant part” of the ongoing investigation into what police have described as the worst mass murder in the city’s history.
At a news conference Thursday, Kevin Brookwell of the Calgary Police Service said forensic specialists are working around the clock to gather more evidence for a “thorough” investigation.
Police on Tuesday charged de Grood with five counts of first-degree murder, hours after the stabbing attack at a house party celebrating the last day of university classes.
Authorities are looking into de Grood's activities leading up to the stabbings and “people he may have contacted,” Brookwell said.
Brookwell didn’t provide many details, but said de Grood was a “welcome guest” at the party and was mingling with guests prior to the stabbings.
Police are still trying to determine what motivated the attacks.
“There didn’t seem to be any precursors to this as far as any grudge or any vendetta or anything that would result in a motivation for this attack,” Brookwell said.
Police said they will continue to interview party guests, including those who were there at the time of the stabbings, and some who had already left the party.
The victims have been identified as Lawrence Hong, 27, Josh Hunter, 23, Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Kaiti Perras, 23 and Jordan Segura, 22.
Two of the victims -- Hunter and Rathwell -- were best friends and in a band called Zackariah and The Prophets.
Perras -- the only female victim -- had majored in English at Mount Royal University before attending the University of Calgary and Hong was about to graduate from the urban studies program.
Segura was working part-time at two Calgary funeral homes; his boss, Ernie Hagel, said he was a promising young employee.
De Grood is being held at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre, but his lawyer said he has not undergone a psychiatric assessment to date.
He currently remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in a Calgary court on April 22.
With files from Karolyn Coorsh