Investigators: Son Stabbed Virginia State Senator, Then Killed Himself

Posted at 4:02 PM, Nov 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-19 16:02:12-05

Photo courtesy Facebook

(CNN) — Investigators believe Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds was stabbed by his son, who then shot himself in an early morning altercation in their home, state police announced Tuesday.

Whatever happened, it was an awful tragedy: a state senator repeatedly stabbed in the head and torso; his 24-year-old son fatally wounded by a gunshot.

That’s the scene Virginia State Police and Bath County, Virginia, sheriff’s deputies encountered when they rushed to state Sen. Creigh Deeds‘ home in response to a 911 call Tuesday morning.

Deeds was airlifted to University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, where his condition was upgraded from critical to fair Tuesday afternoon, spokeswoman Angela Taylor said. His son, Austin “Gus” Deeds, died of a gunshot wound — despite efforts by troopers to revive him, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

CNN affiliate WTVR: Deeds stabbed multiple times

While she offered no motive for the incident Tuesday morning, Geller said authorities were not seeking any suspects.

CNN affiliate WSLS: Updates on Deeds after stabbing

Geller declined to say who called 911, if the call came from the Deeds’ home or any other details about the incident.

She did say that Deeds was able to talk with investigators both before he was airlifted to the hospital and after. The senator’s family is with him at the hospital, she said.

Deeds, 55, is well known in Virginia political circles. A Democrat, he ran for attorney general in 2005 and for governor in 2009, both times against Republican Bob McDonnell, who is now Virginia’s governor.

His son withdrew from The College of William & Mary last month after being enrolled off-and-on since 2007, according to a statement from the school. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday that Gus Deeds had been given a mental health evaluation under an emergency custody order Monday — but was released because no psychiatric bed could be located across a wide area of western Virginia, Dennis Cropper, executive director of the Rockbridge County Community Services Board, told the newspaper.

McDonnell issued a statement calling Tuesday’s events “heartbreaking.”

“In this tough and sad time, our thoughts and prayers are with the Deeds family. The news from this morning is utterly heartbreaking,” he said. “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. He cares deeply about Virginia, and the people of Virginia care deeply for him.”

On Twitter, Sen. Mark Warner called the report “stunning news.”

“I am praying for @CreighDeeds and his family at this very, very difficult time,” he tweeted.