MONDAY, APRIL 14
University of Calgary students celebrate Bermuda Shorts Day, a 53-year-old tradition held on the last day of classes before summer. As many as 30 students and friends head to a house party at 11 Butler Crescent in northwest Calgary, not far from the campus. Some students stay outside the house until it gets dark and chilly. People move indoors by 10:30 p.m. The party is so quiet neighbours would say later that they had no idea there was one going on.
Matthew de Grood posts on his Facebook page, “Dread and the fugitive mind – the world needs a hero.” It is a song name and album title from the heavy metal band Megadeth. Mr. de Grood, who also attended U of C, is invited to the party but has to work the evening shift at Crowfoot Safeway.
It is later reported by the Calgary Herald that Mr. de Grood sent perplexing text messages to his parents, Doug and Susan. Inspector Doug de Grood, a veteran member of the police force, is so worried he goes looking for his son thinking he may harm himself.
Matthew de Grood leaves Safeway with what police describe as a “weapon.” It was reportedly a box-cutter he used at work. He shows up at the house still wearing his smock from work, according to police, and “mingles” with other party goers. By this time, the crowd has thinned to about 20 in the split-level home.
Suddenly, something goes wrong. Police allege Mr. de Grood grabs a knife from the kitchen and begins attacking people, targeting his victims, then stabbing them repeatedly. While the horror is unfolding, someone calls 911. Those at the party are either too shocked or unaware of the rampage to react, police would later say. Mr. de Grood leaves the house through the front door and runs.
The police arrive to a grisly scene. Three males are found dead in the house (Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Josh Hunter, 22, and Jordan Segura, 23).
Kaiti Perras, 23, is in the house while Lawrence Hong, 27, is found on the front lawn. Both are taken to Foothills Hospital and die hours later.
Police track down Mr. de Grood a few blocks from the house. He fights with the officers and is bitten by a police dog. He is taken on a stretcher to Rockyview Hospital to receive treatment for the bite. He is then transferred to the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre.
News of the murders begins to filter out. Within hours, Calgary police issue a statement saying five people have died and that a suspect is in custody. U of C president Elizabeth Cannon is home, sipping coffee, when her husband alerts her to the news. Ms. Cannon goes to work knowing she will have to make the difficult calls to heartbroken family members.
Police chief Rick Hanson holds a news conference calling it “the worst mass murder in Calgary’s history.”
The crime scene, he adds, was “horrific.” Chief Hanson confirms the suspect’s father is a police inspector.
By 2 p.m.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Southern Alberta MP Jason Kenney, Alberta premier Dave Hancock and Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi express their condolences to the victims’ family and friends.
A vigil at the U of C’s MacEwan Hall is held for the five victims. Hundreds attend.
Police announce Mr. de Grood has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
Calgary defence lawyer Allan Fay meets with Mr. de Grood at the psychiatric centre. Mr. Fay says his client is “able to carry on a conversation … but seemed to be overwhelmed by the whole process.”
Calgary police spokesman Kevin Brookwell says the autopsies of all five victims were conclusive. They were stabbed to death. Mr. Brookwell confirms the names of the victims, adding that two of them were living in the house at that time.
He acknowledges “the mental health of de Grood and his communications with others before he arrived at the party are forming a major part of the investigation.”
The City of Calgary lowers all flags outside its offices in honour of the victims. It is announced the flags will stay at half-mast until sunset on the day of the last funeral.
Susan and Doug de Grood meet with the media at Mr. Fay’s downtown office to read a statement. Insp. de Grood says he and his wife Susan are “shocked and devastated … We hope some day 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.”