CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Five people were killed and a suspect taken into custody after multiple stabbings at a house party attended by university students near the University of Calgary, the police chief said, calling it the worst mass murder in Calgary’s history.
Police Chief Rick Hanson said the suspect is the son of a 33-year veteran of the Calgary police force and a student at the University of Calgary.
“We have never seen five people killed at one scene,” Hanson said. “The scene was horrific.”
Hanson said the suspect was invited to the party and shortly after arriving picked up a large knife and began stabbing the victims one by one early Tuesday morning. He said about 20 people were at the party when the stabbings occurred.
Hanson said the victims ages range from 22 to 27. He said the dead were all “good kids”
The police chief said they would not release the name of the suspect until first-degree murder charges are announced later Tuesday. He said the suspect left his work at a grocery store before arriving to the party.
Police said three males were found dead at the home. A male and a female died at a local hospital.
Police said the suspect, in his 20s, was arrested with the help of the police canine unit about 40 minutes after the stabbings and that he was taken to hospital for treatment for dog bites.
There was no immediate word on charges or the possible motive. Hanson said the suspect brought a weapon, but used a knife from the house.
Hanson said the father of the suspect is devastated.
Multiple witnesses were taken to the campus and are currently being interviewed by detectives, police said.
The blue-sided house where the stabbings occurred is on a quiet, tree-lined residential street. It was surrounded with yellow police tape as medical examiner staff brought three bodies out on stretchers.
Neighbors in the area say the house was being rented by University of Calgary students and that the party was related to the student union’s annual Bermuda Shorts Day, held Monday.
Bermuda Shorts Day, shortened by students to BSD, is an annual outdoor party on campus with live music and beer gardens to celebrate the final day of classes.
The school’s student newspaper, The Gauntlet, wrote about the tradition two weeks ago in a story titled “BSD: It’ll be a bloodbath.”
On Twitter, many students wrote about how they started drinking early in the morning Monday and continued after the campus event at parties elsewhere.
University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon said they are “deeply saddened” by the news. Cannon said it was a house party off campus.
“This is a terrible, terrible tragedy,” Cannon said. “It’s young people who have lost their lives at a very critical point in their lifetimes. It’s a huge impact on all of us.”
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi took to Twitter to offer condolences.
“Thoughts and prayers of all Calgarians are with the young people we lost this morning, their families, friends, and university community,” the mayor said.
Just outside Toronto, meanwhile, a student was stabbed in a school and two were arrested. Police said the 17-year-old victim has non-life threatening injuries.