Five stabbed to death at student house party in 'Calgary's worst mass killing ever'

Recent graduate of the University of Calgary Douglas de Grood charged with five counts of murder

A 22-year-old man has been charged with stabbing five people to death at a house party in Calgary, Canada, in what police are calling the worst mass killing in the western city's history.

Matthew Douglas de Grood, a recent graduate of the University of Calgary and the son of a 33-year veteran of the Calgary police force, is accused of picking up a large knife shortly after arriving at the party and stabbing the victims one by one shortly after 1 am yesterday morning, said police Chief Rick Hanson.

De Grood, 22, was charged with five counts of murder late Tuesday.

“This is the worst murder — mass murder — in Calgary's history,” Hanson said at a news conference Tuesday. “We have never seen five people killed by an individual at one scene. The scene was horrific.”

The Calgary attack came nearly a week after a teenage boy in the US stabbed and wounded 21 students at his high school outside Pittsburgh.

Hanson said the motive for the Calgary attack was unknown. He said the suspect's father and mother are devastated.

“They are now feeling so much sorrow,” he said. “Those young people are dead and they are absolutely devastated.”

Hanson said the identities of the five victims —four men and a woman — will be released when autopsies are completed. He said their ages range from 22 to 27 and they were all “good kids.”

Neither the victims nor the suspect had any prior involvement with police, Hanson said.

The University of Calgary said de Grood graduated in 2013 with a bachelor's degree majoring in psychology and a minor in law and society. A police officer seals off the scene of the stabbing A police officer seals off the scene of the stabbing

Hanson said about 20 people were at the party celebrating the last days of classes at a home in the northwest residential neighborhood of Brentwood, near the campus. He said the suspect was invited to the party and showed up after working his shift at a grocery story and was welcomed inside.

He said it appears that no one at the party had been sleeping when the attack took place shortly after 1 am, but that everyone was taken by surprise.

Hanson said the suspect “targeted the victims one by one, stabbing them several times.”

“Was there anything that precipitated the event? Was there something that anyone had done that anyone could have taken as an insult or an affront to this individual? To the best of our knowledge right now, there's nothing to indicate anything like that happened,” Hanson said.

Hanson said the suspect allegedly brought a weapon, or “instrument,” from work to the party, but grabbed a large knife from inside the house.

Three men were found dead at the home after someone at the party called the emergency dispatcher. A man and a woman died at a hospital.

Police said de Grood was arrested with the help of the police canine unit about 40 minutes after the stabbings and was taken to a hospital for treatment for dog bites. A makeshift memorial is left at the scene A makeshift memorial is left at the scene

Hanson said there's nothing to indicate the suspect was drunk or had been using drugs.

He said police are interviewing witnesses.

The blue-sided house where the stabbings occurred is on a quiet, tree-lined residential street. It was surrounded with yellow police tape as medical examiner staff brought three bodies out on stretchers.

Neighbor Doug Jones said about a dozen students had been drinking beer around a firepit in the backyard earlier in the night, but they weren't rowdy. He said they were talking about politics and the stock market. They took the party inside at about 9 pm and he heard nothing after that.

Other residents in the area said the house party stemmed from the student union's annual Bermuda Shorts Day, which was held on Monday. The event is an annual outdoor party on campus featuring live music and beer gardens to celebrate the end of classes.

On Twitter, many students wrote about how they started drinking on Monday morning and, when the campus event ended in the afternoon, they continued at parties elsewhere.

On Tuesday, about 500 students and faculty members attended a late afternoon vigil at the University of Calgary.

With a candle projected on a giant screen, university president Elizabeth Cannon called for a moment of silence.

“The world lost five bright, promising, beautiful young people,” she said. “We are still coming to grips with this tragedy and what transpired. We don't know all the details and we don't know the full impact on our University of Calgary community.” University of Calgary staff member Saima Jamal at a memorial service for the victims University of Calgary staff member Saima Jamal at a memorial service for the victims

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi called it tragic and urged people to support one another.

“Our community has been dealt a grievous blow. We've lost five young people, five good young people who did nothing wrong. Who like all of us had dreams and hopes and were building their lives,” Nenshi said.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, goes back to his family's Sicilian roots in the first 'Godfather' film
film
News
Kim Kardashian speaks on the Today show about her step-father's transition
PEOPLE
Arts and Entertainment
Kermit and his doppleganger Hyalinobatrachium dianae
film
Sport
Wenger and Mourinho square-up to each other earlier this season
All the action from today's Premier League, including Everton vs Man Utd and Chelsea vs Arsenal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions