04/17/2014 01:21 EDT | Updated 04/18/2014 11:59 EDT

Calgary Stabbings: Questions Linger About Motive

A spree of stabbings in Calgary earlier this week left five young people dead and a city struggling to understand how such an unthinkable crime could occur.

Early Tuesday morning, four men and one woman were stabbed to death during a house party meant to celebrate the last day of classes at the University of Calgary.

Matthew de Grood, a U of C student and son of a veteran Calgary police officer, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

But what motivated the attacks? And why did this happen?

An inspector with the Calgary Police Service who is close to the suspect's father, Doug de Grood, told the Calgary Herald the accused was "acting very strangely leading up to this tragedy."

"That evening, Doug and (his wife) Susan got some text messages from Matt that were really disjointed, really confusing and they caused them to think, 'Oh, my goodness, he's going to commit suicide.'

"They were really worried, so Doug went looking for him and was worried sick that he was going to find him dead. Susan called in a concern to the police — an alert. And then they got the terrible news that this had happened," said the officer, who spoke with the Herald on the condition of anonymity.

The accused's lawyer said his client is distraught and scared.

“He’s in a terrible situation, and [these are] some horrible allegations,” Allen Fay told Global Calgary.

“He’s a 23-year-old — young — man, it must be devastating for him... I think he’s aware but he’s overwhelmed.”

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Calgary Stabbing Victims

De Grood made his first court appearance late Tuesday night, via telephone call from his room at the Rockyview General Hospital where he was being treated for a dog bite inflicted by a K9 unit during his arrest.

Justice of the Peace Scott Morgan asked de Grood if he understood the charges against him.

'Um, no comment," de Grood replied, according to the Calgary Sun.

“I just need to know if you understand what you’ve been charged with,” said Morgan.

“I’m not sure,” said de Grood.

De Grood had been invited to the Brentwood house party and showed up to the home after his shift at a nearby grocery store.

According to police he brought a weapon with him from work, but allegedly grabbed a large knife once inside the house. Police say the victims were stabbed one by one.

Josh Hunter, Lawrence Hong, Kaiti Perras, Zackariah Rathwell and Jordan Segura were all killed.

“Nobody commits a crime like this for no reason, it’s just not within the realm of normal expected behaviour,” Dr. Marshall S. Korenblum, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, told Global Calgary.

“We may not know the reason yet, but I suspect that we will find there will be a reason.”

For now, de Grood has been moved to the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatric Centre where he will undergo assessment.

He is scheduled to appear in court next Tuesday.