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Calgary Stabbing Victims' Families Release Joint Statement

04/19/2014 12:31 EDT | Updated 06/19/2014 05:59 EDT
CALGARY - The families of Calgary's mass murder victims came together Saturday to express their "tremendous grief and tragedy" and to ask for privacy to heal.

Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Jordan Segura, 22, Josh Hunter, 23, Kaitlin Perras, 23, and Lawrence Hong, 27, were stabbed to death at an end of school house party early Tuesday morning.

Another partygoer, 22-year-old Matthew de Grood, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

UPDATE: The Rathwell family released this statement:

We are devastated by what happened. It is a struggle every day to understand that Zackariah won’t be coming home. He was so close to so many, and touched the lives of everyone he came into contact with.

We know that the City of Calgary is grieving for the loss of these bright young people.

To the other families, please accept our deepest condolences for your loss, no one should ever have to lose someone who was so young and full of so much potential.

We would like to thank the Calgary Police Service for their swift response and all of their support.

We would like to thank Air Canada for getting Zackariah’s brother, Mason, home to his family so quickly.

We would also like to thank everyone who has offered their prayers and condolences. We know that as we grieve, the city of Calgary grieves with us. Thank you for all your thoughts and all your prayers. Thank you for caring about Zack.

He was an amazing kid who grew into an amazing man. We didn't have him for very long, but we are so very grateful for the time that we did have him. We are all going to miss him so much.

We know that he touched the lives of so many through his kindness, his laughter and his music. Which is why we are inviting everyone to Zack’s funeral. Whether you met him once, or you didn’t know him at all but feel you need to be there to grieve, please come to Centre Street Church (3900 2 Street N.E.) on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., for Zack’s funeral.

In lieu of flowers, we request donations be made to the Zackariah James Rathwell Trust Fund at any RBC location. This will be used to honour Zack's memory through the establishment of a scholarship which will help other students pursue their dreams in the arts.

De Grood, the son of a senior Calgary police officer, will make his first appearance in court on Tuesday.

"In this time of tremendous grief and tragedy, our five families have come together as one," the families said in a prepared statement issued by Calgary Police.

"We know the public and media are searching to understand how this could have happened, as are we. But we also know that these answers will take time and nothing will come as quickly as we want or need."

Funeral services for Perras, Segura and and Hunter have been scheduled for Monday and a fourth for Rathwell will be held Tuesday.

"As a group, we have come together to support one another, and in time, start the healing process. First, we must say goodbye to our loved ones, which includes memorials and funerals over the coming days and weeks," write the families.

"We ask that in this time of unimaginable sorrow, you respect our privacy and give us the breathing room we need to come to grips with what has happened to Josh, Zack, Kaiti, Jordan and Lawrence."

Police are still trying to determine a motive for the bizarre attack, saying it appeared the suspect hadn't been drinking or doing drugs. Calgary's police chief says they were "all good kids" and there was no indication of any incident that would have provoked the attack.

Three of the students were attending the University of Calgary, another the Alberta College of Art and Design. Perras had been a student at Mount Royal University.

A memorial outside the home where the stabbing took place continues to grow with piles of flowers, handwritten notes, stuffed animals and ballet shoes in honour of Perras, who spent years dancing.

"We wish to extend our thanks to Calgarians, and others who have expressed their condolences for our loss. We know you are grieving, too, and we truly appreciate the support," said the families.

See the full statement from the families below.

In this time of tremendous grief and tragedy, our five families have come together as one. We know the public and media are searching to understand how this could have happened, as are we. But we also know that these answers will take time and nothing will come as quickly as we want or need.

As a group, we have come together to support one another, and in time, start the healing process. First, we must say goodbye to our loved ones, which includes memorials and funerals over the coming days and weeks.

We ask that in this time of unimaginable sorrow, you respect our privacy and give us the breathing room we need to come to grips with what has happened to Josh, Zack, Kaiti, Jordan and Lawrence.

We are not at a point where we are ready to speak publicly to any media outlet or reporter. We can assure you that when the time comes we, as a group, will do so. This will be co-ordinated through the Public Affairs/Media Relations Unit of the Calgary Police Service.

We ask that you extend this privacy to the witnesses and close friends of our beloved five, as they, too, are suffering unimaginable grief. When the time comes for them to speak out, they will do it with the help of the CPS.

Over the coming days, we will be releasing details of various funds where donations can be made to support the numerous bursaries and scholarships being planned to remember our loved ones.

We wish to extend our thanks to Calgarians, and others who have expressed their condolences for our loss. We know you are grieving, too, and we truly appreciate the support.

- The family of Kaiti Perras, the family of Josh Hunter, the family of Zackariah Rathwell, the family of Jordan Segura and the family of Lawrence Hong.

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