November 20th, 2013
10:14 AM ET

State Senator Deeds Stabbed By Own Son in Attempted Murder-Suicide

A top Virginia politician lay in a Charlottesville hospital with multiple stab wounds Tuesday evening after what state police called a fight with his son, who appears to have killed himself shortly afterward. CNN's Chris Lawrence reports.

A cousin found state Sen. Creigh Deeds, the 2009 Democratic nominee for governor, walking down a road near his home Tuesday morning, bleeding from multiple stab wounds to his head and chest, state police reported. State troopers who came to Deeds' home in Millboro, about 150 miles west of Richmond, then found 24-year-old Austin "Gus" Deeds with a gunshot wound, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. The troopers were unable to save him.

"Based on the evidence we have, we are looking at this as an attempted murder and suicide," Geller told reporters Tuesday afternoon. No one else was in the house at the time of the altercation, and investigators are not seeking any other suspects, she said.

The senator was able to talk with investigators before he was flown to the hospital and afterward, Geller said.

Gus Deeds withdrew from The College of William & Mary last month after being enrolled off-and-on since 2007, according to a statement from the school. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday that he had been given a mental health evaluation under an emergency custody order Monday but was released because no psychiatric bed could be located across a wide area of western Virginia, Dennis Cropper, executive director of the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board, told the newspaper.

Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner weighs in on the case in relation to troubled family members. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)

“One of the challenges that families know well in America, is that when you have someone who’s really troubled, who's a young male in the family, one of your great obstacles is the denial of your son that he needs help. And for families, your greatest risk are folks who may have a psychiatric illness, in this case quite possibly depression, coupled with a chemical abuse problem… And the people who are threatened the most are those who are intimate family. So Mr. deeds would have been at a high risk.”

Dr. Welner believes the solution lies in the law and that they should be changed to allow family members to indicate when their loved one should be committed. He says doctors do not know the patient as well as close family does to make that decision.

“I need to be able to make the call and say I believe my loved one needs to be in the hospital. Because when you discharge him, I'm going to take him. That's not the way it is and that has to change.”

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