Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds is in fair condition after being stabbed multiple times in the head and torso Tuesday morning at his home in Bath County after an altercation with his son, Austin Creigh “Gus,” Deeds. The younger Deeds died from gunshot wounds, according to State Police. No one else was in the home at the time of the incident.
Although police could not confirm whether the gunshot wounds were self-inflicted, they are looking into the incident as an attempted murder-suicide and are not looking for more suspects. Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said investigators were “still piecing together the exact sequence of events.”
Police responded to a 911 call at 7:25 and arrived at the legislator’s Millboro, Va. home where they found Gus Deeds, 24, suffering life-threatening injuries from gunshot wounds. Medical personnel were unable to stabilize the younger Deeds and pronounced him dead on the scene.
Creigh Deeds, 55, walked down a hill from his residence onto a state highway where he was spotted by a cousin who lives nearby, Geller said. Deeds was taken to the cousin’s farm where he was found in critical condition. He was medevaced to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. He has been able to speak with the investigators but would not release any comment, according to state police.
Geller said investigators would remain on the scene for a few more hours during a 3:30 press conference. She would not comment on whether drugs or alcohol had played a role in the incident. A firearm was recovered on the scene but police are not releasing the make, model or ownership of the weapon.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Gus Deeds had received a medical evaluation from Bath County Community Hospital on an emergency custody order Monday. Under state law, the order only allows an individual suspected to harm others due to a mental illness to be held for four hours after they are taken into custody. That person is then evaluated to determine whether or not they meet the criteria for a temporary detention order, under which they can be held for up to 48 hours.
However, Deeds was released due to a lack of psychiatric beds across western Virginia, reported The Times-Dispatch.
Deeds, a Democrat representing northwest Virginia, served in the commonwealth's House of Delagates for 10 years before filling Emily Couric's State Senate seat in 2001 after she passed away from cancer. He led an unsuccessful campaigns against Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell for attorney general in 2005 and again for governor in 2009.
In a statement, McDonnell called Deeds' stabbing "utterly heartbreaking," and urged Virginians to pray for his full recovery.
"Creigh Deeds is an exceptional and committed public servant who has always done what he believes is best for Virginia and who gives his all to public service," McDonnell said in a statement. "He cares deeply about Virginia, and the people of Virginia care deeply for him."
Other Virginia politicians voiced their support for the state senator on Twitter.
Dorothy and I are praying for the Deeds family at this difficult time. -tm
— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) November 19, 2013
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) November 19, 2013
Praying for Creigh’s recovery. My thoughts & prayers are with his family.
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) November 19, 2013
Praying for Creigh Deeds and his family.
— Eric Cantor (@GOPLeader) November 19, 2013
Corrected on : Update 11/19/13: This story has been updated to include additional statements from the Virginia State Police.