Creigh Deeds, a longtime state senator who ran unsuccessfully for governor of Virginia in 2009, was hospitalized with stab wounds Tuesday in an incident in which his son died of a gunshot wound, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Deeds suffered serious injuries after being stabbed in the head and upper torso several times inside his home, police said.
Deeds’ son Austin “Gus” Deeds, 24, attacked his father Tuesday morning before turning a gun on himself, reports NBC Washington. Police say Gus Deeds died at the scene. The incident comes just one day after Gus was committed to a psychiatric ward but released due to a shortage of beds. Reports indicate Gus had been evaluated at a mental hospital on Monday, but there was simply no room at any mental-health wards in all of western Virginia.
Creigh Deeds, a 55-year-old Democrat, was in critical condition at the University of Virginia Medical Center, the newspaper said.
Virginia State Police said that they responded to the incident at Deeds’ home at 7:25 a.m. Tuesday morning.
“Virginia State Police are on the scene of an assault of a state legislator that took place Tuesday morning,” police said in the release. “Senator Creigh Deeds has been transported to U.Va. Hospital in Charlottesville for treatment of serious injuries sustained in the assault at his residence.”
Law-enforcement sources are investigating what led to the violence.
Deeds, a longtime state legislator, ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2005.
In 2009, he defeated Terry McAuliffe for the democratic nomination for governor, but lost to Bob McDonnell, the current Republican governor. McAuliffe recently won the race for governor as McDonnell’s successor.
This morning, Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a statement about the incident that he referred to as an “altercation.”
“In this tough and sad time, our thoughts and prayers are with the Deeds family, ” McDonnell said in the statement. “The news from this morning is utterly heartbreaking. 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. I urge all Virginians today to join me in praying for a full and complete recovery for Creigh and for many more years of his public service to the Commonwealth. At this moment, our state unites in prayer for Creigh Deeds and his family.”
“Stunning news from Bath County,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said in a tweet. “I am praying for @CreighDeeds and his family at this very, very difficult time.”
Deeds, a rural Democrat who drafted a constitutional amendment guaranteeing Virginians’ right to hunt, long enjoyed support from the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates.
Deeds and his wife, Pam, divorced shortly after the 2009 campaign.
Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe called it a sad day for Virginia and the many people who know Deeds.
“We join people across the Commonwealth and country in wishing him a full recovery,” he said.