Prominent Virginia politician Creigh Deeds was brutally stabbed Tuesday morning in what appears to be an attempted murder and suicide by his 24-year-old son Gus. Gus died from a gunshot wound at the scene, and the state senator remains in critical but stable condition at the University of Virginia hospital.
Police don’t have a motive yet, but it’s quite possible the young man wasn’t mentally stable. He was committed to a psychiatric ward the day before the stabbing but was released because there weren’t enough beds to keep him there.
A source reported that Austin “Gus” Deeds was held at Bath Community Hospital yesterday under an emergency custody order (ECO) for up to four hours to determine if he should be kept longer. He was released because there weren’t any beds available across a large area of Virginia.
After being stabbed several times in the head and torso, the elder Deeds managed to walk 75 yards down the private drive, where he was picked up by a cousin on Route 42. No word on whether he contacted the relative or if they met by happenstance.
Gus died at the scene from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Tragic! And the fact that this might have been preventable if he’d received proper treatment makes it even worse. I don’t know what prompted the evaluation on Monday, but it doesn’t seem that his dad saw him as a threat, since they were home alone together at the time of the stabbing.
This family is going to have a lot to come to terms with as they grieve the loss of their son and try to wrap their minds around the terrible circumstances in which they lost him.
Do you think mental health is a factor in this crime?
Please call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in case you are worried about yourself or someone else.
Image via Eric Brown/Flickr