CALGARY – Students at the University of Calgary are struggling to cope following the worst mass murder in the city’s history that left five young people dead and another facing five counts of first-degree murder.
Five young people were celebrating the last day of classes at the University of Calgary when they were stabbed to death early Tuesday. A suspect was arrested a short time later after he was tracked down and bitten by a police dog.
“This will continue to be a huge event in the history of the U of C and I think we just have to move beyond it together as a community,” said U of C student’s union president Raphael Jacob.
Jacob was attending a vigil at the university late Tuesday attended by about 500 students and faculty members. Some brought flowers, others hugged each other for support and tears flowed freely.
“I know many of my friends have been personally affected by this and it’s scary. But don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone,” he said.
“Some of you in this room might even know the suspect. Please don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to come forward. That can be devastating as well.”
U of C president Elizabeth Cannon said final exams will be delayed for students that are too traumatized by the events.
“This is a tough day for the University of Calgary. We’re still in shock,” she said.
“We have counselling services, support services for our faculty and staff and this is a time to make sure everyone feels safe, secure and we’re worried about everyone’s health and wellness.”
Police have charged 22-year-old Matthew Douglas de Grood of Calgary with five counts of first-degree murder. He is the son of a veteran Calgary Police officer.
A Facebook page under the name Matt de Grood said he completed a psychology degree from the University of Calgary last year and had been accepted into the school’s law program for the fall.
Police said the suspect was invited to the party in the northwest residential neighbourhood of Brentwood, not far from campus to mark the end of the school year.
The suspect allegedly brought a weapon, or “instrument,” from work to the party, but grabbed a large knife from inside the house. He then “targeted the victims one by one, stabbing them several times.
Investigators were still trying to determine what motivated the attack.