Virginia state senator Creigh Deeds, who was the Democratic guberntorial nominee in 2009, was stabbed in his home in Bath County on Tuesday morning. Deeds's son, Gus, was found dead of a gunshot wound inside the home as well. Deeds is currently in critical condition at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. Police were called to Deeds's residence at 7:25 a.m. and found the lawmaker with serious injuries to his head and upper torso sustained in an assault. NBC Washington is reporting that Gus Deeds stabbed his father before taking his own life. In a statement, Corrine Geller, a spokesperson for the Virginia State Police said that while it was not "an absolute determination," police were investigating this as an attempted murder and a suicide.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Gus Deeds, a 24-year-old who had recently withdrawn from the College of William & Mary, received a mental health evaluation on Monday after an emergency custody order was issued. He was then released because no psychatric beds were available.
Deeds' condition has been updated to fair at UVA Medical Center and the state senator has been talking to investigators. According to reports, he was able to leave the house and walk down his driveway to a state highway where he was spotted and picked up by a cousin. The cousin then drove Deeds to his farm and the wounded state senator was flown to the hospital from there.
Deeds, who was first elected to the Virginia state senate in 2001, was considered a rising star in the state's Democratic Party but twice lost bids for statewide office. In 2005, Deeds was his party's nominee to be the state's attorney general against Republican Bob McDonnell and fell short by a mere 323 votes. Four years later, Deeds won a three-way primary to become the Democratic nominee for governor but lost to McDonnell again, this time by a 59-41 margin. Deeds, who is the father of three daughters in addition to his son, was divorced from his first wife shortly after the 2009 election and has since remarried.
McDonnell issued a statement Tuesday saying "In this tough and sad time, our thoughts and prayers are with the Deeds family. The news from this morning is utterly heartbreaking." In a message signed tm, Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe tweeted, "Dorothy and I are praying for the Deeds family at this difficult time."