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Families of mass murder ask for privacy

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.

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.

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