A snow-covered personal note left with flowers near the scene of the multiple fatal stabbings in northwest Calgary on Wednesday.

One of the dead in Calgary stabbing showed promise as funeral director

Ernie Hagel has had plenty of experience with death during his 43 years as a funeral director, but he’s struggling to deal with the loss of one of his promising young employees.

CALGARY — Ernie Hagel has had plenty of experience with death during his 43 years as a funeral director, but he’s struggling to deal with the loss of one of his promising young employees.

Jordan Segura was one of five young people stabbed to death at a student house party in Calgary early Tuesday morning. He had worked for McGinnis and Holloway Funeral Homes in the city over the last year.

“Our staff are devastated,” Hagel said in an interview Wednesday. “We’ve tried to deal with this, but when it hits home it hits hard. If it doesn’t, it’s time to get out of the funeral business.”

Segura was attacked along with Zackariah Rathwell, Josh Hunter, Lawrence Hong and Kaiti Perras. All were in their twenties. All were at a house party marking the end of classes at the nearby University of Calgary.

Matthew de Grood, 22, has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder. The University of Calgary graduate worked at a grocery store and is the son of a veteran Calgary police officer.

De Grood had been invited to the party. Investigators have not identified any motive, only saying the victims did nothing to provoke the attack.

It has all left the school community and the city as a whole baffled about what might have led to such a tragedy.

Rathwell, 23, and Hunter, 22, have been remembered by friends as members of a local rock band who had just performed at an album release party on the weekend.

Perras, 23, was majoring in English at Mount Royal university.

Friends said Hong, 27, was about to graduate in engineering from the University of Calgary. He was a friendly, funny, proud gay man who liked to cook and play video games.

Segura was working part time at the funeral home when he went back to school last fall to pursue religious studies. He was scheduled to return full time for the summer, Hagel said.

“He had the qualities to be a great funeral director. He wanted to serve people. He wanted to be there when they needed him,” said Hagel. “I think Jordan would have eventually become trained as a funeral director and become a very good young funeral director.”

It fell to Hagel to tell staff about the death.

“We had a call from the family. I had to break the news to our people so it was very, very difficult. We had a lot of tears,” he said.

De Grood is in custody and is to appear in court Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for Alberta Justice says an Edmonton prosecutor will be assigned to the file to address any perceived conflict in the case since de Grood is the son of a police officer.

The northwest Calgary home where the attack took place was surrounded with police tape Wednesday and the street remained closed. Flowers were piled under a tree at the end of the police tape in a makeshift memorial.

There were also hand-scrawled notes and a candle paying tribute to the dead.

One read “Heaven has five new angels.”

Just Posted

Child’s play at Westerner Days

Balloons bring out the child in everyone

‘Do Indians have property rights?’ Former Alberta chief’s land dispute in court

STANDOFF, Alta. — A dispute between two families over land on Canada’s… Continue reading

Missing female found near Sundre

Local rancher finds missing female

Buyers turn to letters to snag homes in Canada’s hot real estate markets

TORONTO — Monica Martins and her husband had been looking for a… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Second World War Two-era B-29 Superfortress named ‘Fifi’ lands for first-ever Canadian tour

MONTREAL — A rare Second World War-era bomber named “Fifi” has touched… Continue reading

Magnus Cort Nielsen wins Stage 15 of Tour de France

CARCASSONNE, France — Magnus Cort Nielsen of Denmark sprinted away from two… Continue reading

Ryan Reynolds teases ‘Deadpool 2’ extended cut at Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO — Ryan Reynolds has made a triumphant return to San… Continue reading

‘Wonder Woman,’ ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Shazam!” thrill Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO — Warner Bros. brought out all the stops Saturday at… Continue reading

All shell, no shock: Lobster prices strong, season picks up

PORTLAND, Maine — New England’s lobster industry faces big new challenges in… Continue reading

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month