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Police treating Deeds' family tragedy as attempted murder, suicide

Virginia police are investigating the stabbing of a state senator and the fatal shooting of his son as an attempted murder and suicide, authorities said Tuesday.

State Sen. Creigh Deeds had an altercation with his son, Gus, state police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said at a televised news conference. Deeds was stabbed several times but was able to leave the house in Bath County.

Deeds walked down the hill at his residence to Route 42. The injured senator was spotted and picked up by a cousin who was driving along the road, she said. The pair drove to the cousin’s residence, where the 911 call was placed to the sheriff’s office about 7:25 a.m.

State troopers and Bath County deputies arrived to find Deeds, 55, stabbed about the head and upper torso. Deeds was transported by ambulance to a nearby relative’s farm, then flown to UVA Hospital, Geller said.  The senator was originally in critical condition but has been upgraded to fair, she said.

When authorities went to the Deeds house in the community of Millboro, they found Gus Deeds inside with a life-threatening gunshot wound, Geller said. Gus Deeds died at the scene despite attempts to treat him, she said.

The weapon was recovered, she said. Authorities did not identify it. 

Authorities are still investigating the incident, but are treating it as an attempted murder by Gus, who then killed himself, Geller said. No other suspects are being sought.

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

Deeds, 55, is a Democrat whose district includes Bath County. His house is west of Charlottesville.

He twice ran unsuccessfully for top state offices.

In 2009 he lost the governor's race to Republican Bob McDonnell. He also lost to McDonnell in the 2005 race for attorney general.

“In this tough and sad time, our thoughts and prayers are with the Deeds family,” McDonnell said in a statement. “The news from this morning is utterly heartbreaking.”

Geller would not comment on reports in the local media that Gus Deeds had recently been denied help to deal with mental problems.

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