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Students gather at University of Calgary to mourn stabbing victims

04/15/2014 07:31 EDT | Updated 06/15/2014 05:59 EDT
Hundreds of students gathered at the University of Calgary to mourn five young people stabbed to death.

Among those at the emotional community gathering in MacEwan Hall Tuesday afternoon were students, staff, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

"We're going to make it through this. We're strong. We're strong because we have each other," Nenshi said.

Students signed a flag of condolence and speakers urged them to take care of themselves and make use of the resources available, such as the campus Wellness Centre.

"You might feel alone right now, but look at this room. Let's come together as a community," said student president Raphael Jacob.

University president Elizabeth Cannon told the gathering that she's received messages of support from across the country.

“I think the key message today is to make sure that you take care of yourself, that you reach out for support, that you take care of those around, because this is a test of our community.”

Jordan Fabro attended the memorial because he was close friends with four of the five victims.

“My friend group is going through a bit of a tough time right now. I knew I had to come to this today. Some of my friends that are going through this are out of town, in the country, going through finals, going to school right now. I am one of the few that could make it to this memorial for them.”

Matthew de Grood, who attended the university, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder. Four men and a woman died following the early-morning stabbings in the city’s Brentwood neighbourhood, just north of the campus.

According to neighbours, people at a house had been celebrating the last day of university classes with a fire in the backyard. Bermuda Shorts Day festivities to mark the end of the University of Calgary’s winter semester have been a campus tradition since 1960.

Josh Hunter and Zackariah Rathwell have been identified as two of the victims. Hunter was a business student at the University of Calgary. Rathwell was a first-year student at ACAD, a Calgary arts college.

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