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Calgary cop's son charged in mass killing

By Shawn Logan, Bill Kaufmann, Kevin Martin, Michael Platt, Rick Bell, QMIAgency

In the worst mass killing in Calgary’s history, five young adults were stabbed to death during a Brentwood house party.

The accused, the son of a senior Calgary Police Service officer still in hospital as of Tuesday night over concerns of his mental state, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

“The scene was horrific,” said a visibly shaken police chief Rick Hanson at a press conference, adding each victim was stabbed several times.

The killings happened at a house party celebrating Bermuda Shorts Day at the University of Calgary, and the accused in custody is the son of a senior police officer, Insp. Doug de Grood, a 33-year veteran.

The accused is 23-year-old Matt de Grood.

The last entry on his Facebook account read: “Dread and the fugitive mind- the world needs a hero” apparently referencing two Megadeth songs.

De Grood worked at a local grocery store and was enrolled as a law student at the U of C.




He made a brief first court appearance late Tuesday — via a telephone call to a room at Rockyview General Hospital.

Justice of the Peace Scott Morgan read de Grood five charges of first-degree murder before asking the suspect if he was aware of what was occurring.

“Mr. de Grood, do you understand the charges,” Morgan asked the accused over a phone line.

“Um, no comment,” de Grood stated.

“I just need to know if you understand what you’ve been charged with,” said Morgan, after reading out the names of the five victims.

“I’m not sure,” said de Grood, who was in the custody of a police detective at the hospital.

Morgan proceeded to tell the accused in Calgary’s biggest mass murder the issue of his release will have to be dealt with in Court of Queen’s Bench as he had no authority to grant bail on a murder charge.

“Do you understand?” Morgan asked.

“Yes, I understand what you are saying,” de Grood said.

The accused said he’s being represented by defence counsel Allan Fay.

Fay, who was not with the accused for his appearance, later said it’s too early to determine whether he will be seeking de Grood’s release pending trial.

De Grood will appear next in provincial court on April 22.

The stabbing happened in a home in the 100 block of Butler Cres. N.W., said CPS spokeswoman Emma Poole.

“We went to the home at 1:20 a.m. for reports of several injured people,” Poole said.

At the scene, three people were found dead, and two others with critical injuries were taken to hospital, where they later died.

In total, four men and one woman were killed.

Two of the dead have been identified by friends as Josh Hunter and Zackariah Rathwell, members of a popular local band called Zackariah and the Prophets.

Court documents show the other dead are Jordan Segura, Lawrence Hong and Kaitlin Perras.

“These were all good kids. They did nothing wrong,” said Hanson.

Hanson talked to Insp. de Grood just before a press conference.

“He is absolutely devastated. He is heartbroken as is his wife,” he said.

Hanson said the suspect had been invited to the party and allegedly used a knife he found in the house.

A suspect fled the scene before police arrived, but officers were able to track him down a short distance away and arrested him with the help of the K9 unit.

Hours after the killings, a police officer retrieved what looked like a bloody kitchen knife dropped in a gutter about 40 metres south of the murder scene.

Jason Stein, who lives three doors down from the massacre scene, said he heard people talking for nearly an hour at the party.

It then took a loud turn shortly before police arrived, he added.

“It got loud at one moment...there was shouting, it sounded like somebody pleading with someone, like ‘come on, come on,’” said Stein, adding he’s disgusted with so much bloodshed so close to home.

“It’s just ridiculous.”

Throughout the day, friends of the home’s occupants showed up to the view the scene, some of them emotional and red-eyed.

Neighbour Doug Jones said he believed between three and five university students lived in the home, and he has never had any trouble with them.

Early in the afternoon, Connor Hill, who’s friends with some of those in the party house, laid a bouquet of flowers near the home.

“I just wanted to show some respect,” he said.

“It’s not fair, I just think it’s bad.”

He said his surviving friends “are doing alright.”

The tragedy has doubled the number of homicides in Calgary in 2014 to 10.

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