Calgary police Insp. Doug de Grood, with his wife Susan at his side, fights back tears as he speaks publicly for the first time since his son, Matthew de Grood, was charged with five counts of first-degree murder. CBC
Calgary police Insp. Douglas de Grood, the father of stabbing suspect Matthew de Grood, fought back tears as he spoke about how shocked and devastated he and his wife are.
"We are deeply saddened for what the families and friends of the victims are going through," he said.
"Your lives have been turned upside down. We know words cannot ease your pain and suffering. Please accept our deepest condolences and know you are in our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers."
Matthew de Grood has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Lawrence Hong, 27, Joshua Hunter, 23, Kaitlin Perras, 23, Zackariah Rathwell, 21, and Jordan Segura, 22.
"Like any parent can tell you, a love for your child is unconditional, and we love Matthew dearly," said de Grood, reading from a prepared statement.
"Our Matthew is a great kid, full of love, kindness and respect for others."
De Grood said he and his wife, Susan, hope to see their son soon.
"Just like you, we struggle to understand what happened," said de Grood.
"We have received an outpouring of support from our extended family, friends and co-workers and even people we've never met. We thank each one of you for your support."
De Grood is a 33-year veteran of the Calgary Police Service who has held leadership positions within the force. He is still on active duty.
The de Groods also have an older daughter named Nicole.
Not under suicide watch, says lawyer
Defence lawyer Allan Fay said the family has asked the media to respect their privacy during this difficult time.
"Give them the time and space they need to deal with this terrible tragedy," he told reporters Thursday afternoon after the family made their statement.
Matthew de Grood is now being held in a secure psychiatric facility.
Fay once again reiterated that he is not aware of any mental health concerns with his client and said he has not been placed under suicide watch.
He said there has not been a court-ordered psychological assessment yet, but he understands the Crown prosecutor may request one at Matthew de Grood's next appearance on Tuesday.
There have been reports in the media that the suspect's mother had called police before the stabbings happened early Tuesday morning after receiving some worrying text messages, but Fay said he could not confirm that information.
"There have been a lot of reports in the media that the family doesn't necessarily agree with," he said.
Due to the suspect's father's position with the police force, Crown prosecutors will be brought in from Edmonton to handle the case.
Gregg Lepp of Crown Prosecutor Services says that is to ensure impartiality.
"We would do the same thing if it were the son or daughter or relative of a prosecutor or a judge or a well-known defence lawyer — things of that sort," he said.
"So that's why. Not that there would be a conflict, but just so the public has absolute confidence that there's no personal stake in this whatsoever."
Neil Wiberg and Stephanie Brown have been named as the two prosecutors assigned to the case.