BY STEPHANIE TIPPLE
Sen. Creigh Deeds, a Democratic Virginia state senator and former gubernatorial candidate, was stabbed at his home in Bath County this past Tuesday. His 24-year-old son Austin Deeds, a former student at William & Mary, passed away from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at their home.
Deeds is currently being treated at the University of Virginia Medical Center. He was in critical condition when admitted, but was later moved to “fair” condition on Wednesday. Several sources, including the New York Daily News reported that the incident was a murder-suicide attempt, in which Deeds’ son attacked him with a knife, and then proceeded to shoot himself with a rifle.
Deeds’ son was recently under emergency custody in which his mental health was being evaluated. The claim is that he was released from this custody because no bed could be found for him to seek further institutionalized treatment, but sources from CNN reported this may not be the case.
Dennis Cropper, executive director of the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that Austin Deeds had been released because no psychiatric bed could be found for him across a wide area of western Virginia. According to the CNN website, three hospitals in the area had beds available, but no one called them.
Austin was charged in 2009 for underage alcohol possession, but substance use was not mentioned as a factor in the stabbing.
Many have taken to social media to offer prayers, condolences and anecdotes about Deeds, some hosting candlelight vigils in his honor. Among the people to speak out about this incident were Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe and Sen. Mark Warner.
McAuliffe stated that he was praying for the entire Deeds family, and Warner tweeted, saying, “Stunning news from Bath County. I am praying for Creigh Deeds and his family at this very, very difficult time.”
It is unclear at this time if Deeds will return to his post as Senator, or how long his recovery will take, but several reports stated that the stabbing will not be fatal.