We’ll be updating this story as more information about the attack on State Senator Creigh Deeds and his son’s apparent suicide becomes available.
8am 11/21/13 UPDATE:
Creigh Deeds is now in good condition at UVA hospital, according to state police.
An autopsy performed Wednesday morning by the Roanoke medical examiner confirmed that Deeds’ son Gus, who police believe stabbed his father multiple times in the head and torso outside their Bath County home Tuesday morning, died from a self-inflicted rifle wound.
Despite initial reports that Gus Deeds was released from protective custody after an emergency psychiatric exam Monday because of a lack of psychiatric beds in the area, The Daily Progress reported yesterday that three hospitals within a two-hour drive of bath—Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Western State Hospital in Staunton, and UVA Medical Center here in Charlottesville—all had room, and never received a call from Rockbridge Area Community Services, where Gus was being held. Since that report, Governor Bob McDonnell has called for investigation into Gus’ release.
The reports of a lack of psych beds on Monday were attributed to Dennis Cropper, executive director of Rockbridge. He has since refused to comment directly on the case, saying he can’t talk about specifics. But he said that in Virginia, mental health professionals have just four hours to evaluate patients taken into custody under an emergency custody order, get permission to hold them, and find a hospital to take them. Under certain circumstances, they can get a two-hour extension—and reports indicate that’s what happened in the case of Gus Deeds.
When asked to explain typical procedure in finding a hospital to take a patient, and why calls were not made Rockingham, UVA, or Western State, Cropper declined to comment beyond the following: “It is standard protocol for Emergency Services staff to call a number of private hospitals prior to contacting Western State hospital.”
10am 11/20/13 UPDATE:
State police say there will be no further press conferences today to update the public on their investigation into the attack on State Senator Creigh Deeds, but promised updates later today. The Roanoke medical examiner’s office will conduct an autopsy this morning on Deeds’ son Gus, who is believed to have stabbed his father before shooting and killing himself yesterday morning.
The elder Deeds was flown to UVA Medical Center in critical condition with multiple stab wounds to the head and torso. Police believe his 24-year-old son, Gus, stabbed him and then shot himself in the home. Gus died at the scene before he could be transported.
Deeds’ condition was upgraded to fair yesterday afternoon, but state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller told press in an e-mail that “there’s just not enough new information” to warrant a briefing today. An update from police is expected mid-afternoon.
4pm 11/19/13 UPDATE:
Senator Creigh Deeds’ condition has been updated to fair, officials said this afternoon. At a press conference, Virginia State Police said they’re treating the incident as an attempted murder and suicide.
The following is an updated press release from state police about the incident:
Virginia State Police and Bath County Sheriff’s Office remain on-scene investigating an assault at State Senator Creigh Deeds’ residence Tuesday morning (Nov. 19, 2013). At 7:25 a.m. Tuesday, troopers responded to a 911 call for a residence on Vineyard Drive in the Millboro community of Bath County.
After the stabbing, Senator Deeds left the scene on foot and walked down the hill of his residence to Route 42. The injured senator was spotted and picked up by a cousin who was driving along Route 42. The two drove to the cousin’s residence where the 911 call was placed to the sheriff’s office.
Troopers and Bath County deputies arrived to find Senator Deeds, 55, stabbed multiple times about the head and upper torso. Senator Deeds was transported by ambulance to a nearby relative’s farm to a medevac helicopter and was flown to UVA Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. The senator is still at the hospital at this time.
Senator Deeds’ son, Gus Deeds, 24, Millboro, Va., was found inside the residence suffering from life-threatening injuries associated with a gunshot wound. Despite efforts by troopers and other first responders, he died at the scene.
“Investigators are working now on confirming the motive and actual sequence of events that took place at the residence this morning,” said Corinne Geller, Virginia State Police spokesperson. “There is still a great deal of work to be done. These things take time and we will follow up with more details once we are at that stage.”
The investigation remains ongoing at this time by the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Salem Field Office with the assistance of the Bath County Sheriff’s Office.
Senator Creigh Deeds was alert and able to give statements to investigators following the early morning incident in which he suffered severe stab wounds to the head and upper torso, according to Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller, who spoke at a noon press conference. According to Geller, a 911 call was placed from a home owned by Deeds on Vineyard Drive in the Millboro area of Bath County on Tuesday morning. Bath County Sheriff’s Department received the call and contacted state police at 7:25am, according to Geller, who said emergency personnel were on the scene soon after.
Gus Deeds was found inside the house suffering from a gunshot wound, said Geller, who declined to reveal the senator’s location. Two helicopters were dispatched to take Deeds and his son to UVA hospital, but Gus could not be stabilized for transport and died on the scene.
According to a report on the Richmond Times Dispatch website, police on the scene said Gus had stabbed his father and soon after shot himself. The T-D reports that Gus had undergone a mental health evaluation at the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board under an emergency custody order on Monday, November 18, the day before his death. Although he could have been held up to 72 hours, there was no psychiatric bed available and he was released.
A second press conference is scheduled for this afternoon at 3pm.
State Senator Creigh Deeds was airlifted to UVA hospital on this morning in critical condition after being stabbed in his home in Bath County, according to state police. His 24-year-old son, Gus, is dead of a gunshot wound, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported hours after the 7:45am incident. The investigation into the incident is ongoing. Virginia State Police are holding a holding a noon press conference in Charlottesville, where they are expected to release further information.
The 55-year-old legislator has represented Bath County since 2001. He ran for attorney general in 2005 and for governor in 2009, losing both times to Bob McDonnell. Gus was Deeds’ only son. He also has three daughters.
According to the Highland County Reporter, Gus stabbed his father before fatally shooting himself. The Times-Dispatch reported Creigh Deeds managed to leave his house and walk to a rural highway, where a cousin who lives nearby picked him up and drove him to a nearby farm, from which he was airlifted to UVA.
“This is a terrible tragedy,” said House Minority Leader David Toscano in a statement Tuesday morning. “Senator Deeds was very close to his son Gus, and has taken herculean efforts to help him over the years. Our thoughts and prayers are with Creigh and the family at this difficult time.”
This is a developing story. Check c-ville.com for updates as we learn more.