CRIME

Creigh Deeds stabbed inside Bath County home

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP/WJLA) - Virginia State Sen. Creigh Deeds' condition was upgraded to "good" Wednesday morning, just more than a day after he was stabbed inside his Bath County home.

VA State Police News Conference

Deeds has served in Virginia's state Senate since 2001. Photo: Associated Press

Deeds remains hospitalized at the University of Virginia Medical Center after being stabbed early Tuesday morning after an altercation with his 24-year-old son, authorities say.

Deeds' son, Gus, was also found dead from a gunshot wound, authorities say, and a Virginia State Police spokesperson says that the incident was likely an attempted murder/suicide.

Authorities have declined to explicitly say that Gus Deeds stabbed his father, but VSP spokeswoman Corinne Geller says that there was an altercation between father and son before the stabbing and shooting.

Virginia State Police officials say that Deeds was discovered by a cousin who saw the senator, who had been stabbed several times in the head and torso, walking near his home on Vineyard Drive in the Millboro community at about 7:30 a.m.

The wounded senator was found walking toward a nearby road by his cousin, who drove Deeds back to the cousin's home and called 911. He was then was then airlifted to the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville for treatment.

Shortly after the senator was found stabbed, his son was discovered suffering from gunshot wounds inside the family home. He died at the scene after first responders were not able to stabilize his condition or fly him to the hospital.

Son was evaluated by mental health professionals

Just one day before Tuesday morning's stabbing and shooting, Gus Deeds underwent an emergency mental health evaluation, officials say.

Under what's called an emergency custody order, Deeds was evaluated by the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board, its executive director told the Roanoke Times.

However, Deeds couldn't be held overnight because they could not find a psychiatric bed for him.

No search for suspects

Gellar said that neither Virginia State Police or Bath County Sheriff's officials are looking for suspects at this time. However, she said that detectives are still working to figure out exactly what happened.

Officials say that Deeds was able to speak to authorities while being treated.

Gus Deeds is one of the senator's four adult children. He had been enrolled at the College of William and Mary off and on since 2007, and withdrew last month, school spokesman Brian Whitson said. The college did not say why he left.

During Deeds' bid for governor, his son took off a semester to join his dad on the campaign trail.

"He needs me and I need him," Deeds told a reporter in the fall of 2009, about campaigning with Gus.

Well-wishes pour in for Deeds

In a post on from his twitter account, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said he was "praying for [Creigh Deeds] and his family."  Warner, a Democrat, appeared in campaign advertisements for Deeds during his unsuccessful 2009 gubernatorial run.

Deeds, 55, represents Bath County in Northwest Virginia. Police said they are investigating the sequence of events at Deeds' home. His family is with him at the hospital.

In a statement, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell called the stabbing "utterly heartbreaking" and urged state residents to pray for his recovery.

"Creigh Deeds is an exceptional and committed public servant who has always done what he believes is best for Virginia and who gives his all to public service," McDonnell said. "He cares deeply about Virginia, and the people of Virginia care deeply for him. "

Long political history in Virginia

Deeds ran for attorney general in 2005 and governor in 2009, losing both races to McDonnell. Before serving in the Virginia Senate, Deeds was a member of the state's House of Delegates between 1992 and 2001.

He and his ex-wife, Pam, divorced shortly after the 2009 campaign. Deeds remarried last year.

Deeds' reputation among colleagues has been as a thoughtful legislator. On social issues, he is generally to the right of party liberals, supporting abortion rights, but opposing gay marriage and gun control measures. He wrote a constitutional amendment guaranteeing Virginians' right to hunt and fish.

He proved to be a reserved campaigner in 2009, described as shy by his fellow lawmakers.

"I don't like fundraising. I don't like being away from home all the time," he said during the campaign. "I enjoy the service. I enjoy the work that politics allows you to do. I don't know that I really enjoy the process that much."

Deeds spent most of his childhood in Bath County, where his family settled in the 1740s. The rural county is known for the high-end Homestead resort, but Deeds grew up on the other side of the mountain.

"I didn't grow up on the end of the county where you learn to ski and play golf as a child," he said. Deeds lived on a farm after his parents divorced when he was about 7.

His grandfather was the Democratic Party chairman in Bath County during the Great Depression.

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