Creigh Deeds’ Son Received Mental Evaluation Day Before Attempted Murder-Suicide, Hospitals Had No Room To Keep Him

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Virginia State Sen. Creigh Deeds’ son underwent a mental health evaluation performed under an emergency custody order on Monday, the day before he stabbed and fatally shot himself in their Millboro, Va., home.

Austin “Gus” Deeds, 24, was evaluated at Bath Community Hospital Monday, but was released because there was no available psychiatric bed, according to Dennis Cropper, executive director of the Rockbridge County Community Services Board.

Cropper told the Times-Dispatch that Deeds was held for four hours, while an evaluation determined if he could be kept longer. A temporary detention order would involuntarily commit him for up to 48 hours.

Mary Ann Bergeron, the executive director of the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards, said the hospital called around the area looking for a bed.

“I can tell you right now, it was multiple hospitals that they called,” she said. “That is a very rural area. The hospitals are few and far between.”

Sen. Creigh Deeds, 55, was repeatedly stabbed in the head and torso. He was listed in fair condition University of Virginia Medical Center just before 3 p.m. Tuesday.

After stabbing his father, Deeds died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the scene.

Police are still not sure what unfolded Tuesday morning leading up to the attack, which took place around 7:25 a.m. Gus and Creigh Deeds were the only people in the residence when the attack took place.

"We are looking at this as an attempted murder and suicide," state police spokeswomen Corinne Geller on Tuesday afternoon.

“Investigators are working now on confirming the motive and actual sequence of events that took place at the residence this morning,” said Geller. "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.”

After he was stabbed, Creigh Deeds walked 75 yards down a driveway out to state Route 42. He was picked up by a cousin who lived nearby. He was flown to the hospital from his cousin’s farm.

"This is a terrible tragedy," said Del. David J. Toscano, D-Charlottesville, in a statement. "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."

Gus Deeds, a former student at William & Mary College, reportedly dropped out just a month ago. He had been a campaign volunteer for his father, who has been a state senator since 2001.

Sources: Times-Dispatch, Washington Post