The victims — Lawrence Hong, Josh Hunter, Kaitlin Perras, Zackariah Rathwell and Jordan Segura — were, by all accounts, celebrating like everyone else when they became the subjects of an unprovoked attack just after 1 a.m. Tuesday.
Police Chief Rick Hanson said the victims were "targeted one by one" during a house party at 11 Butler Cres. N.W.
"These were all good kids. There’s no question about that. They did nothing wrong, and nothing that they did contributed to what happened to them," Hanson said.
Police have a suspect — the son of a well-regarded senior officer from their ranks — and the names of the victims quickly spread among grief-stricken family members, friends and classmates as Tuesday wore on.
While the police have yet to specify a precise motive, they charged de Grood with five counts of first-degree murder — a charge that indicates evidence of planning and deliberation.
Two of the victims, Josh Hunter and Zackariah Rathwell, were members of a popular local band, Zackariah and the Prophets.
Hunter, 23, was also an accounting major at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business. Rathwell, 21, was a first-year student at the Alberta College of Art and Design.
"They were amazing, they were really creative and they inspired me," said Eric Grant, a friend of the bandmates who attended a candlelight vigil for all five victims at U of C on Tuesday night.
"Today has been the hardest day of my life."
Segura, 22, was a religious studies student at the University of Calgary. Perras was 23; Hong was 27.
Investigators were still trying to sort out if any of the victims lived at the rented house that hosted the party, but police said it was mainly a gathering of University of Calgary students celebrating Bermuda Shorts Day, a long-running tradition to mark the last day of classes.
Tuesday's stabbing was the single deadliest crime in Alberta since March 2005, when 4 RCMP officers attempting to impound a truck discovered a marijuana grow-op and stolen vehicle parts on the property of John Roszko in Mayerthorpe, some 75 miles northwest of Edmonton. The officers were ambushed by Roszko while searching his property and Roszko turned his weapon on himself as RCMP reinforcements surrounded him in a shed.