CALGARY – A Filipino-Chinese student was among those killed in a stabbing incident during a recent university party.
The whole city of Calgary is still in a state of mourning, shock and disbelief over the tragic death of five young people who were stabbed during a party celebrating the last day of their final exams more than a week ago.
The incident, which happened last April 15, is considered as the worst mass murder in the city's history.
"First of all, let me start by saying that our hearts go out to the families and friends, to all those who have been affected by this extremely tragic event. These are all good kids. They did nothing wrong and nothing that they did contributed to what happened to them," said Chief Rick Hanson of the Calgary Police Service.
University students Zackariah Rathwell, Josh Hunter, Kaitlyn Perras, Jordan Segura and Lawrence Hong were killed by Matthew De Grood, a son of a Calgary police officer.
Rathwell was a student at the Alberta College of Arts and Design, Perras was from the Mount Royal University while Hunter, Segura and Hong were all students at the University of Calgary.
Hong was a Filipino-Chinese taking Urban Studies. He was looking forward to graduate this year.
His friends were planning to celebrate his 28th birthday after the Holy Week.
They said Hong was active in a lot of volunteer work especially at the Q Centre Community at his school. He was known to always lend a helping hand to everyone and made a lot of difference in people's lives.
"Lawrence was a fantastic person and a wonderful person to be around," said Hong's friend, Katie Leblanc.
Hong spent a few of his childhood years in the Philippines and that his friendly nature endeared him to all his classmates.
"He was honestly, the nicest, kindest person that I've ever met. My dad describes Lawrence as a pillar of tolerance," said Hong's friend and former high school classmate, Christy Harris.
Hong's friends were even planning to have a reunion this year. Now, they are all saddened that the reunion was to mourn their friend who met a tragic death.
"I think I go between not believing and not wanting to believe more than anything. And, for the most part, it's still trying to realize that he's gone," she said.
The families of the five victims have released a statement to the media asking for privacy during this difficult time.
The parents of the murder suspect also faced media to give their official statement as they offered their deepest condolences to the victims' families. They too are asking for privacy.
The five victims were laid to rest last week.
Murder suspect De Grood appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday, April 22, and was charged with five counts of first-degree murder.
The motive behind the killing remains a mystery.