VSP: Deeds’ son shot himself with rifle

Posted at 5:01 PM, Nov 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-20 20:25:05-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — New details are emerging about the stabbing of state senator Creigh Deeds Tuesday morning in Bath County.

State troopers and Bath County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call at 26 Vineyard Drive in Millboro around 7:25 a.m. after the 55-year-old senator and his 24-year-old son, Austin C. “Gus” Deeds, had an altercation outside the house on the Deeds’ property.

That’s where state police said Deeds was stabbed multiple times about the head and torso before running away on foot.

As the senator was coming down the hill towards Route 42, he was spotted and picked up by a cousin who was driving along Route 42.

The two drove to the cousin’s residence where rescuers responded. Senator Deeds was flown to the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the senator was still in the hospital and listed in good condition. CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George said Deeds could be released from the hospital on Monday or Tuesday.

Gus Deeds was later found inside the residence suffering from a life-threatening gunshot wound. He later died at the scene.

An autopsy confirmed the gunshot wound, which was fired from a rifle, was self-inflicted. A weapon believed to have been used in the stabbing was also recovered at the scene.

Additionally, the sheriff’s office was called out to the Deeds’ residence Monday for a non-emergency call for assistance. No arrest was made or any charges placed.

Family friends and neighbors told CBS 6’s Joe St. George Wednesday afternoon they were shocked and saddened by the tragedy.

“I’ve known Gus a long time. I’ve known him since he was a very small boy. All people at some point in time in their life have trouble – some more than others,” said one family friend.

Joe Wood, one of Deeds’ neighbors, said he often saw Gus canoe down the river to his dock.

In recent months, Wood said the senator was trying get his son help with the issues he was battling.

“I think he’s tried two or three times – and he’s had help two or three times,” said Wood.

Wood said alcohol was a frequent problem, possibly playing a role in why Deeds withdrew from William and Mary last month.

“I think he probably had a problem maybe with some alcohol,” said Wood.

Family members said Gus was served an emergency custody order Monday.  But the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Gus was released from a mental hospital in Lexington because of a lack of beds.

The Bath County Sheriff, while not commenting on the specifics of the case, did say the current mental health system needs to change.

“There are some things that really need to be looked at,” Bath County Sheriff Robert W. Plecker said.

Stay with and CBS 6 News for updates on this developing story.