Matthew de Grood charged in 'the worst mass murder in Calgary's history'

UPDATE: An earlier version of the story incorrectly identified the suspect's father.

The 22-year-old son of a police officer has been charged in Calgary with five counts of first-degree murder after an overnight stabbing, which is being called the worst mass murder in the city's history.

Matthew de Grood, son of Calgary police force veteran of 33-years Insp. Doug de Grood, was taken into custody after a brief police pursuit, the Calgary Herald reports. The suspect suffered minor injuries during the pursuit and was taken into hospital before charges were laid.

Five university students were killed in the overnight stabbing, and the incident has left the University of Calgary community reeling.

Four men and one woman, all in their 20s, were fatally stabbed early Tuesday morning while attending a house party a short distance from the University of Calgary campus, celebrating the end of the school year.

The Calgary Police Service confirms they were called to a home in the city's northwestern neighbourhood of Brentwood at about 1:20 a.m. Tuesday morning, where some student-aged young adults had been holding a celebratory gathering.

Police say five people were found stabbed. Three were declared dead at the scene and two others died in hospital. The victims have not yet been identified; police say no names will be released until the completion of autopsies.

[ Related: Students gather at University of Calgary to mourn stabbing victims ]

A Facebook page connected to the name Matthew de Grood suggests he had studied psychology at the University of Calgary and was recently accepted to the university's law school.

The last message posted to the Facebook page appeared Monday evening and reads simply, "Dread and the fugitive mind- the world needs a hero."

Police believe that the suspect was a welcome guest at the house party, believed to be celebrating the end of the academic year. Police Chief Rick Hanson said the suspect had allegedly brought a weapon to the event, but found and used a knife from the home in his attack, targeting the victims and stabbing them several times.

"This is the worst mass murder in Calgary's history," Hanson told reporters. "We have never seen five people killed by an individual at one scene. The scene was horrific."

The stabbings occurred at a home on the 100 block of Butler Crescent, a short distance from University of Calgary campus. The party has as many as 30 guests at one point, but only about 20 remained at the time of the stabbings.

[ Related: Student stabbed at Brampton school; two arrested ]

Neighbours told Postmedia News that the home had been rented to university students, who were celebrating the end of the school year. Nearby resident Doug Jones told CBC News the gathering was a relaxed affair.

“When it started to get dark, they moved inside and once inside, you wouldn’t even be able to tell there was anything really even going on. It wasn’t loud at all,” he told CBC.

The deaths have hit the University of Calgary community especially hard. University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon urged students affected by the tragedy to seek help through the campus wellness centre.

"Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families who lost their loved ones in this senseless tragedy," Cannon said. "The university community has lost a part of its family, and this is a very difficult time for all of us."

On Monday, the university students’ union had celebrated the end of the school year with its annual "Bermuda Shorts Day" festivities. The central event would have been held only a short walk from where the young men and woman were stabbed later that night.

Union President Raphael Jacob said the campus community was affected by the loss. "We are shocked to learn of the senseless tragedy that occurred early this morning on the 100 block of Butler Cres. NW. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families and friends of all those affected," said Jacob.

Alberta's Interim Premier Dave Hancock called the attack a "senseless, shocking and horrible tragedy."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives in the Brentwood neighbourhood," he said. “We will pull together as a community to make sure the families get the support they need as they cope with this terrible event."

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